JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan says he would be open to signing free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Speaking to the team’s flagship radio station, Khan responded “absolutely” when asked Thursday whether he would support signing Kaepernick if the team’s front office wanted to do it.

Khan’s comments were not recorded, just relayed via Twitter.

According to 1010 XL, Khan said that while he would not have knelt during the national anthem to protest social injustice in the United States the way Kaepernick did, the billionaire businessman respects the quarterback’s right to express his beliefs.

Tom Coughlin, the team’s executive vice president, has final say on personnel decisions. Coughlin declined comment Friday through a team spokesman.

Kaepernick remains unsigned after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. There have been for Kaepernick and many of those who support him believe the NFL is punishing the player for refusing to stand during the anthem in an effort to protest police brutality against blacks. More than 1,000 people crowded the steps of the NFL’s midtown Manhattan offices Wednesday to demand Kaepernick be signed before the start of the season.

Kaepernick has 72 touchdown passes, 30 interceptions and 13 rushing scores in six seasons, better numbers than Jaguars quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Chad Henne.

Khan’s comments came before Jacksonville’s third preseason game, a 24-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers that did little, if anything, to settle the team’s quarterback competition.

The Jaguars have failed to find a franchise quarterback since Mark Brunell’s heyday in the late-1990s, miscalculating on Byron Leftwich, David Garrard, Blaine Gabbert and most recently Bortles.

Henne started over Bortles against Carolina and delivered an up-and-down performance. He completed 8 of 14 passes for 73 yards, but was sacked three times, had a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage and badly overthrew tight end Marcedes Lewis down the middle of the field. Henna also lofted perfect deep balls to rookie Keelan Cole and Allen Robinson, although Cole dropped a would-be touchdown for the second time in as many games.

Henne led the Jaguars on two scoring drives (10 points) in five possessions, the lone touchdown aided by a 51-yard run on a fake punt.

Bortles was 12-of-16 passing for 125 yards, highlighted by a 4-yard TD pass to Shane Wynn in the fourth quarter. Bortles also threw an interception that was returned 48 yards and set up a touchdown in the third quarter. The wobbly pass was a little behind Allen Hurns and into double coverage.

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said the competition might carry into the preseason finale at Atlanta. Marrone is looking for either Henne or Bortles to “go out there and take it.”


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