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Bennett: Teams should want leader like Kaepernick

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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With everyone weighing in on former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's curious unemployment, including Around the NFL's very own Chris Wesseling, it was only a matter of time before one of the league's most outspoken activists lent his two cents to the conversation.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett joined NFL Network's NFL Total Access on Friday to reiterate his plan to donate all of his incoming endorsement money to inner-city charities, and to also offer a unique player's perspective on Kaepernick's predicament.

"Yeah, it does surprise me. Kap is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL," Bennett said of the quarterback's market. "He's also one of the most genuine people you could possibly meet. All the stuff that he's doing off the field, the things that he's doing in the communities, he's just serving everybody. Teams should be happy to have a leader like that, a guy who's dedicated to the people around him and he's dedicated to making their life better. The only thing he could do is make the offense even better."

Bennett isn't the first player this offseason to come out in support of Kaepernick. New Eagles receiver Torrey Smith took to Twitter earlier this week to defend his former Niners teammate.

"Colin Kaepernick is not currently employed. However, his skill set vastly exceeds others who were on the market," Smith tweeted Wednesday. "Not saying he is the greatest but he shouldn't be kicked out for football reasons yet...just my opinion."

After Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in the 2016 preseason, Bennett was among multiple Seahawks and NFL players who joined in on the protest, making similar gestures during the anthem in the following weeks.

But nearly seven months later, Bennett is worried that threats to job security, as demonstrated by the lack of interest in Kaepernick, will dissuade players from participating in such protests in the future.

"I think as an athlete in this generation, the guys before us, you had to make a decision and make it a stand. The position that Kap's in, the position that we're all in, if it costs us a job, I wonder if they'd be scared," Bennett explained. "At the end of the day, it's about life goes beyond sports. It's about the impact that we make off the field. I think guys are willing to make this impact and make sure that we're the ones that go into our own communities and make sure that we give back.

"2017, 2018, the years beyond, we're going to call on all these companies that do so much in the community to do even more through us, and not just for marketing products, but into creating more opportunities for people of color, people in different economic situations. So this is what we're about."

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