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Steve Bisciotti: Ravens Had Talks With Colin Kaepernick, Doing Research


The Ravens are doing extensive research on the possibility of signing controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and have had direct talks with Kaepernick and his camp.

Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti and President Dick Cass were asked about Kaepernick at a fan forum with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell before Sunday's practice at M&T Bank Stadium. Goodell visited the practice as his first stop on a tour of NFL training camps.

A fan asked Bisciotti about whether he was hurting his team's "brand" by signing Kaepernick, who drew polarizing reactions across the country with his protest during the national anthem before games last season.

"We've very sensitive to it and we're monitoring it, and we're still, as [General Manager] Ozzie [Newsome] said, scrimmaging it," Bisciotti said. "So pray for us."

Bisciotti said the Ravens have had conversations about Kaepernick with many current players on the team, including starting quarterback Joe Flacco and tight end Benjamin Watson.

The Ravens have also talked with former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, fans, sponsors and respected community members.

"We want to get a sense of what the attitude is out there and how Colin would handle it if he were to come, how he'd handle it and how that would change people's views," Cass said.

Kaepernick has made assurances through his intermediaries that he would not protest this season, that he would stand during the national anthem, Bisciotti said.

"Quantify hurting the brand," Bisciotti asked the fan. "I know that we're going to upset some people, and I know that we're going to make people happy that we stood up for somebody that has the right to do what he did. Non-violent protesting is something that we have all embraced.

"I don't like the way he did it. Personally, I kind of liked it a lot when he went from sitting to kneeling. I don't know, I'm Catholic, we spend a lot of time kneeling."

The Ravens have gauged public opinion on signing Kaepernick, and they've found a very split response.

"Talk to your neighbors and your friends and your co-workers, because I think you'll get the same sense that I got, which is every time I hear something negative, I hear something positive and sometimes it shocks me who it's coming from," Bisciotti said.

"I hope we do what is best for the team and balance that with what's best for the fans. Your opinions matter to us, and we couldn't get a consensus on it in [this room] either."

When it comes to the football side of the decision, which is where it begins, Bisciotti said the team is monitoring backup Ryan Mallett's performance in training camp. Much of it centers around the progress of Joe Flacco's back. If his injury lingers, it could force the team to pull the trigger on a bigger move.

The former San Francisco 49er played against the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, but is coming off back-to-back tougher seasons. He posted a career-low 78.5 quarterback rating in eight starts in 2015 and threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 starts last season.

"We do want to win games and I'm not sure right now that he is going to help us do that," Bisciotti said.

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