HOUSTON Texans coach Bill O’Brien says he and general manager Rick Smithhave discussed signing Colin Kaepernick following the season-ending injury to quarterback Deshaun Watson.
When asked about Kaepernick on Monday, a day after Tom Savage struggled in a 20-14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, O’Brien said: “We talk about the roster and what’s out there every day Rick and I.” O’Brien was then pressed on whether they have specifically discussed about adding Kaepernick.
“Oh yeah, everybody gets discussed,” he said. “Is that a problem? Isn’t that the way most teams do it. People seem shocked by that.” Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began the national anthem protest movement by kneeling last season. He remains unsigned and has filed a complaint that NFL owners colluded against him because of the protests, which are aimed at police brutality against African-Americans and other social justice issues.
O’Brien was pressed several times on Monday about whether the Texans would sign Kaepernick if it were his decision. He avoided answering the question directly, saying that his job is simply to “coach the football team.” After that he was asked if he believes signing Kaepernick would make that job easier.
“Uh, that’s an interesting question,” he said before pausing for a couple of seconds. “I would tell you that I like the guys that we have and we’re going to continue to coach them and try to do a better job of coaching them.” The Texans have not been very active in anthem protests, but the majority of the team kneeled during the anthem before a game on Oct. 29 at Seattle after a report revealed that team ownerBob McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” during a meeting of NFL owners about players who protest by kneeling. No member of the team kneeled on Sunday before Houston’s annual salute-to-service game to honor members of the military.
Houston is looking for answers to get its offense back on track and try to make a push for a third straight playoff berth. The Texans’ record fell to 3-5 with the loss to Indianapolis. They are two games behind Tennessee and Jacksonville, who are tied for first place in the AFC South.
O’Brien said he’s studied Kaepernick since he was in college, but avoided any comparisons between him and the quarterbacks on Houston’s roster. “Colin Kaepernick’s a good football player, hasn’t played football in a while,” O’Brien said. “But these things are discussed daily and they’ll continue to be discussed.”