OWINGS MILLS, Md. — An injury to quarterback Joe Flacco might open the door for Colin Kaepernick to join the Baltimore Ravens.
Flacco missed the first full practice of training camp Thursday because of a back injury and is expected to be out for at least a week. Coach John Harbaugh said the team likely needs to bring in another quarterback and is considering Kaepernick, who opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers on March 3.
Kaepernick drew significant attention for not standing for the traditional playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” before games. However, Harbaugh called Kaepernick a “great guy” and views him as a viable option in Baltimore.
“He and I have been talking throughout the summer a number of times.” Harbaugh said about Kaepernick. “He’s a guy right now that’s being talked about. We’ll just see what happens with that. It will all be speculation right now. He’s a really good football player. As I’ve said at the owners’ meetings, I do believe he’ll be playing in the National Football League this year.”
There is some familiarity because Kaepernick played for Harbaugh’s brother, Jim, with the San Francisco 49ers. He led them to the 2013 Super Bowl, where they lost to the Ravens.
Kaepernick played in 12 games, including 11 starts, for San Francisco last season, throwing for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.
The only other quarterbacks currently in Ravens camp are Ryan Mallett and Dustin Vaughan, a second-year player from of Division II West Texas A&M.
Flacco threw for a franchise-record 4,317 yards with 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2016, one year removed from season-ending knee surgery. Harbaugh said doctors assured him that Flacco’s injury is not long term.
“Everything looks fine for Joe,” Harbaugh said. “We’re taking precautions. I think for Joe, a week of rest here is not going to hurt our offense. It might help our offense in terms of developing some guys. I’d rather go that route rather than go the other route and push him.”
NOTES: Offensive lineman John Urschel decided to retire from the NFL after just three seasons. He called Harbaugh at 6:22 a.m. Thursday morning to deliver the news.
“That was something that has been on his mind for quite awhile, throughout the offseason,” Harbaugh said. “We respect John tremendously.”
Urschel, a 2014 fifth-round pick from Penn State in 2014, received notoriety for pursuing his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the offseason. He started 13 games over the past three seasons and was expected to compete for a starting role at center or guard. Instead, he will pursue other interests outside of football.