It’s been more than 900 days since Colin Kaepernick has been employed by an NFL team, but that’s a number that would be much lower if one NFL receiver had gotten his way back in 2017.
During a recent interview with GQ, Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins revealed that he wanted his team to go after Kaepernick after Deshaun Watson went down with a season-ending ACL injury two years ago.
At the time of Watson’s Week 8 injury, the Texans were sitting at 3-4 and just one game out of first place in the AFC South. With the Texans still in contention for a division title, Hopkins was hoping his team would go after Kaeperick, but instead, they ended up signing T.J. Yates.
“I was upset,” Hopkin said. “Everybody needed to give Kaep a look. He can help a team win. I’ve seen a lot of quarterbacks that’s not as good as Kaep, but teams don’t want the heat behind them.”
After Yates was signed, Texans coach Bill O’Brien said the team had internal discussions about adding Kaepernick, but those discussions didn’t go anywhere.
“These things are discussed basically daily, and it’s not just one guy,” O’Brien said in 2017, via ESPN.com. “Colin Kaepernick’s a good football player [but he] hasn’t played football in a while. But these things are discussed daily and they’ll continue to be discussed.”
At the time of Yates’ signing, Kaepernick had only been out of football for eight months.
In the end, the Texans ended up moving forward with Yates and Tom Savage, and that decision definitely didn’t pay off. With Watson out, those two combined to go 1-8 over the final nine weeks of the season.
Although Hopkins is more than happy to have Watson as his quarterback, the receiver does still support Kaepernick. During the 2018 season, Hopkins wore a Kaepernick jersey before a game, something that he eventually took heat for on the internet.
The 2017 season was a tumultuous one for Hopkins. Not only did he deal with Watson’s injury, but he also almost skipped a game as a way to protest comments that were made by former Texans owner Bob McNair.
“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair reportedly said at an NFL meeting during the height of the national anthem protests.
After Hopkins read about that quote, he immediately decided he wasn’t going to be attending practice that day. As a matter of fact, Hopkins was so upset with the quote that he almost decided to skip the Texans’ Week 8 game in Seattle.
“Hell yeah, I was about to sit out the game,” Hopkins said. “But I definitely wasn’t going to practice. A couple of my teammates about to follow me, but they called them back up to the stadium. They tried calling me, but I wasn’t going back. Hell no.”
Although Hopkins was upset at the time, he holds no ill will against McNair, who passed away in November.
“It feels like I’m a slave again. Getting ran over. Listen to the master, go to work. But I took into consideration that he was older — RIP, his soul,” Hopkins said. “He was a good man, but some people they don’t really… When you grow up certain places, you talk a certain way.”
The only reason Hopkins ended up playing against the Seahawks is because he didn’t want to let his teammates down.
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