Colin Kaepernick hasn't played quarterback in the NFL since 2016, and there's no indication that he will return this season. Still the popular EA Sports "Madden" video game franchise will include Kaepernick as a player in the 2021 version of the game, the company announced Tuesday.
Not only will Kaepernick be playable in the game, but he will have a higher skill rating than several current high-profile starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
"Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback," read a statement on the Madden NFL 21 Twitter page. "The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game. We've had a long relationship with Colin through Madden NFL and worked through our past soundtrack mistakes.
"Knowing that our EA SPORTS experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin's position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football," the statement continued. "We've worked with Colin to make this possible, and we're excited to bring it to all of you today."
https://t.co/R2agq5B64p— Madden NFL 21 (@Madden NFL 21)1599584409.0
Fox News reported that Kaepernick will be rated higher in the game than New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
During Kaepernick's last season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, he started 11 games, leading the team to a 1-10 record in those games. He threw 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He opted out of his contract after the season, hoping to sign a better deal in San Francisco or elsewhere, but was not signed by any team.
Kaepernick, the originator of the national anthem kneeling social justice protests, has claimed he was blackballed from the league for his activism. He settled a grievance with the NFL on that matter, filed with one other player, for less than $10 million total.
The NFL scheduled a workout for Kaepernick in November so he could audition for teams who might be interested in signing him, but the workout was derailed when Kaepernick moved it at the last minute from the set location to a high school field 60 miles from the scheduled location, apparently due to a disagreements over the terms of the workout and matters of legal liability.