Tony Dungy: Teams view Colin Kaepernick as a distraction like Mixon and Vick
Tony Dungy was an NFL head coach for 13 years, so if anyone out there knows how an NFL team thinks, it’s Dungy.
“Without that national anthem [protest], someone would have signed him by now,” Dungy said during a recent interview with Newsday.
According to Dungy, NFL teams basically view all distractions in the same way. Although Kaepernick didn’t hit a woman — something that Bengals draft pick Joe Mixon did do — he’s viewed the same way by teams, because, in the end, both players are a distraction.
“If you’re seen as a distraction off the field, for whatever reason, you better have a lot of talent going for you,” Dungy said. “People will overlook it. They always sign talent if they think he’s going to upgrade your team.”
Dungy used Mixon and Michael Vick as two examples of players who were viewed as distractions.
In Vick’s case, the former No. 1 overall pick was sentenced to 23 months in a federal prison for running a dogfighting ring in Virginia. Vick served 21 months of the sentence in a Kansas prison before spending the final two months under home confinement. After he was released in 2009, Andy Reid brought Vick to Philadelphia.
“Michael Vick went through a lot of that and had some teams say no [to signing him],” Dungy said. “Andy Reid was the one coach who said, ‘Hey, we’ll do it. We think enough of him as a player, and we know we’re going to take some criticism.’ With Joe Mixon, you had the same thing. That’s what happens.”
The obvious problem with this line of thinking is that it puts Kaepernick, who didn’t do anything wrong, in the same boat with players like Mixon and Vick.
The Hall of Fame coach says that the issue with Kaepernick is that most teams don’t want to sign a backup quarterback if they’re going to have to deal with the fallout that comes with the signing.
“You’re always going to say, ‘Is the value of this player enough to offset the criticism that I get if I bring him on board?'” Dungy said. “What [teams are] looking at is a backup quarterback. Is it worth the criticism? People have said no. I think right now, people don’t see him as a starting quarterback.”
Kaepernick has now been a free agent for longer than two months, and he still hasn’t really garnered any interest from any NFL team.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has in signing Kaepernick, but the quarterback hasn’t visited Seattle and it’s unclear how serious the Seahawks actually are with their interest.
If Kaepernick doesn’t land in Seattle, he might, because right now, no one else seems interested in signing him.