For several months, Goodell has been speaking to many people inside and outside the N.F.L. about whether and how to get Kaepernick a tryout. Harry Edwards, the longtime civil rights activist and a confidant to N.F.L. players, said he had been talking to Goodell for two years about setting up a workout for Kaepernick.
Edwards said the tryout would help show whether Kaepernick even wants to play football.
Teams should “come in and see what kind of condition he’s in, whether or not he is interviewing fine, if he’s truly interested in playing and so forth and so on, because those questions are out there,” said Edwards, an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Some team owners are less than enthusiastic about seeing Kaepernick connected to the league again. When the N.F.L. reached the deal to end Kaepernick’s grievance in February, more than a few owners felt that the league could finally move on from the controversy.
“There is one less issue for Roger to deal with,” one owner said at the time. “It takes the energy out of the anthem issue.”
Now some owners are unhappy that the N.F.L. has gone out of its way to help a player who accused them of collusion, cost them millions of dollars in legal fees, and ignited a controversy that media executives say drove down ratings. But during a season when numerous big-name quarterbacks have been sidelined with injuries, Kaepernick, even three years removed from football, is attracting interest.
More than a dozen teams, even those with plenty of quarterbacks on their roster, plan to send representatives to the tryout at the Falcons’ training facility 90 minutes northeast of Atlanta.
The Kansas City Chiefs, who already have four quarterbacks on their roster, will be one of the teams attending the workout. Clark Hunt, the Chiefs owner, said there was no harm in the team doing its due diligence. Now it will be up to Kaepernick, once one of the sport’s brightest young stars, to convince a team that he is still N.F.L.-ready.
“This workout will probably go part of the way toward answering that question,” Hunt said.
Ben Shpigel contributed reporting.