Former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson decided not to oversee Saturday’s unprecedented workout for the quarterback after the time and location were moved to accommodate media access, according to Jackson’s friend and NFL Network analyst Mike Silver.
Jackson flew into Atlanta on Saturday morning at the league’s request and traveled north of the city to help lead drills the workout at the Falcons’ practice facility in Flowery Branch at 3 p.m. ET, but he was reportedly told the workout had been relocated to Charles Drew High School — roughly 60 miles away from the original site in Riverdale — less than an hour before the new start time of 4 p.m.
Silver confirmed Jackson was instead heading back to the airport.
Jackson, who also had a head coaching tenure in Oakland, has said he wants another chance as an NFL head coach as recently as last July. The league had asked him to help with the workout days earlier with assistance from former Green Bay Packers head coach Joe Philbin, who did not appear to have relocated in the live stream of the workout.
The relocation also essentially puts the workout in the hands of Kaepernick, who has continually expressed interest in rejoining the league since he was ostracized for protesting during the national anthem back in 2016 with the San Francisco 49ers.
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Jackson’s Departure Draws Mixed Response
Silver has vehemently defended Jackson’s decision to not attend the rescheduled workout against criticism online, retweeting some with more context and others with snarky responses. Considering their friendship, though, Silver’s words have to be taken with a grain of salt.
The short-notice rescheduling, as Silver tells it, meant Jackson would have shown up late to the workout by the time it took him to travel south around the city of Atlanta. There is also the fact that neither Jackson nor Kaepernick asked for the former head coach to attend in the first place.
The NFL released a statement about Kaepernick “not appearing for his workout” after the switch was made public, outlining different things the league said it had accommodated to make the workout fit the requests of Kaepernick and his team. Here is the last paragraph of the statement, where Jackson is thanked for fulfilling the league’s request:
“We are grateful to the Falcons, who made available the club’s first-class facility, along with athletic training, equipment, and communications staff to ensure that today’s workout would occur under ideal conditions, to coaches Hue Jackson and Joe Philbin, who were prepared to run a workout that would allow Colin to demonstrate his skill level, and to Jeff Foster and the Combine staff for arranging for other players to participate and for managing the logistics of the workout.”
Several team scouts, including the Chicago Bears, reportedly still attended the live-streamed workout Saturday on the high school field in Riverdale. According to reports, 25 teams were present at the Falcons’ facility.