Recently, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expressed his support for Colin Kaepernick’s protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Shortly after making these comments, Kaepernick’s partner Nessa openly criticized Carroll and claimed Seattle wouldn’t sign Kaep because he took a knee. On Thursday, Carroll spoke with reporters and revealed that he regrets not signing Colin to the team after he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.

“I regret that we weren't the one way back when that just did it just to do it, even though I thought that it wasn't the right fit necessarily for us at the time,” Caroll said, as ESPN reports. “The reason it wasn't the right fit is because I held him in such a high regard I didn't see him as a backup quarterback and I didn't want to put him in that situation with Russ. It just didn't feel like it would fit right. That's the way I felt about it. So I just wish it would happen, and I wish we would have been a part of it when the time was available then. We're kind of set up right now, so football-wise, it doesn't seem to fit us like I said. But there's a lot of time here. We'll see what happens.”

During the conversation, Carroll stated multiple times that not signing Kaep was a big regret. “He was right on it,” he continued. “He was right on the topics about police brutality and inequality, and he was right on the subject matter at the time.”

As protests over police brutality and systemic racism continue throughout the country, many have revisited the topic of Kaepernick’s National Anthem protests. At the time, his actions were highly controversial in the NFL, and he has yet to sign with a team since.

Over the last month, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery among others have recontextualized Kaep’s kneeling for many in the NFL. The league itself has taken a stance recently, too, with commissioner Roger Goodell expressing his support for Black Lives Matter. Carroll meanwhile, said that the point of Kaep’s protests is “so obvious now.”

Caroll later told reporters that he had “great meetings” with Kaep, and that he reached out to him during the 2016 season “for some advice about where he would go next.” While he did visit the Seahawks in 2017 as a free agent, ultimately it “didn’t work out.” Carroll added, “I figured he was going to wind up starting somewhere for sure, and it just didn't happen. So the rest of that story is one that I regret that that didn't happen in some fashion. I wish we would have contributed to it because the guy deserved to play. I thought at the time, just our situation, as a backup, man, I didn't feel it was right at that time.” He also insisted that his protests were “never the issue” as to why he ultimately didn’t sign.

At some point during the chat, Caroll also indicated that another team was interested in hiring him.

Despite his claims, many have criticized Caroll on Twitter, stating that they do not believe him.

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