At least 11 NFL teams will send representatives to a private workout arranged for Colin Kaepernick this weekend, the league confirmed Thursday.
Kaepernick has been unemployed since the end of the 2016-2017 season, when he ignited controversy by kneeling during the pre-game playing of the US national anthem to protest racial injustice.
In an unexpected move on Tuesday, the NFL announced it had arranged a workout for Kaepernick on Saturday and invited all teams to send scouts to watch and interview the ex-San Francisco 49ers star.
Although the timing and details of the workout have been greeted with scepticism in some quarters, Kaepernick welcomed the league move on Tuesday.
“I’ve been in shape and ready for this for three years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday,” said Kaepernick, who earlier this year reached a settlement with the NFL after alleging in a legal action he had been “blackballed” by the league.
The NFL on Thursday said in a statement 11 teams had committed to attend the session, and more were expected.
“We are looking forward to Saturday’s workout with Colin,” the league said in a statement.
“Eleven teams — Arizona, Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Miami, New England, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tampa Bay, and Washington — have already committed to attend, and it’s only Thursday.
“With two days remaining until the workout, we expected additional teams to commit.”
Former Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson would be responsible for running drills with Kaepernick, the NFL said.
The league added that video of the workout and an interview with Kaepernick would be sent to the head coaches and general managers of all 32 NFL teams.
Thursday’s NFL statement came after Kaepernick’s former team-mate Eric Reid and several commentators questioned whether the NFL’s workout was a sincere attempt to find the quarterback a team.
Many sceptics have pointed out that most head coaches and GMs will be busy preparing teams for Sunday fixtures, while team scouts are also more likely to be at college football games.
“It feels like the same play from the NFL,” Reid said on Wednesday.
“It feels disingenuous. At this point it feels like a PR stunt.”