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Colin Kaepernick’s potential NFL return was floated Thursday as the Los Angeles Chargers hired Jim Harbaugh as their next head coach, replacing Brandon Staley.

NFL insider Mike Florio wondered whether Kaepernick could join Harbaugh’s coaching staff in Los Angeles. Florio pointed to the pair’s history with the San Francisco 49ers and Kaepernick’s 2022 appearance during the Wolverines’ spring game. 

He also citing reporting from 2022 that suggested Harbaugh was going to make the move if he took the Minnesota Vikings job.

Former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman told Fox News Digital it would be a bad move given the long line of coaches and former players who are waiting to pounce on a gig like that.

“Absolutely not. And I think it would be a horrible decision,” said Merriman, who is preparing for Lights Out Xtreme Fighting 14 next month in Long Beach, California. “You got a lot of people out there putting in the time, putting in the effort and is waiting in line for those jobs and more qualified for those jobs. 

“And to jump over everybody else who spent their time, energy, still in line and work their way up, would just be a slap in the face to everyone that’s been committed to raising the bar.”


Kaepernick recently endorsed his former coach before Harbaugh decided to take the Chargers job.

“Harbaugh is the one coach you call when you want to compete for a championship. Period,” he told USA Today.

In 2020, Harbaugh told The Athletic it was “absurd” Kaepernick did not have a job.

“I love Colin, did then, do now, always will,” Harbaugh said. “I hope he gets a shot. I hope that he has a chance to play again and that he does play. Just my personal view on it.”

Colin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh

Kaepernick has maintained he stays ready if an NFL team does come calling. It is unclear whether he would want to become a coach in the league.

He played for Harbaugh from 2011 to 2014. The two got to two NFC championships and won one. The team nearly defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the 2013 Super Bowl. Kaepernick sought to join the New York Jets earlier in the 2023 season after Aaron Rodgers went down with an Achilles injury.

Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season. His final appearance came on Jan. 1, 2017, against the Seattle Seahawks. He finished the year with 2,241 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions. The 49ers were 1-10 in 11 Kaepernick starts.

Since then, Kaepernick has been at the forefront of social activism, calling for the abolishment of the police and prisons as well as likening the NFL Draft to a slave auction. He accused NFL owners of blackballing him from the league, and after the two sides settled, his two tryouts in front of scouts failed to yield a contract with a team.

Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick with the 49ers

He also told NPR in May he has not seen any “substantial change” in the NFL when it comes to the league addressing social injustice.

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