Head coach John Harbaugh admitted as much Thursday, speaking after a training camp practice where he had just two healthy quarterbacks. As NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero first reported Wednesday, entrenched starter Joe Flacco could miss between three and six weeks with a back issue. Ryan Mallett is the team's No. 2 quarterback.
Kaepernick played for John's brother, Jim, in San Francisco and competed against John in Super Bowl XLVII.
"I've known Colin through my brother for many years. And we talked and then got to know him very well when he scrimmaged here. He and I have been talking throughout the summer a number of times," Harbaugh said. "We had some great conversations on the phone and it's really been a pleasure to talk to him and get to know him. I like history and politics too, and we've had some debates, and it's been fun. And he's a great guy. He's a guy right now that's being talked about. We'll just see what happens with that. Only speculation right now. He's a really good football player and like I said, I do believe he'll be playing in the National Football League this year."
The move makes plenty of sense for the Ravens, who don't want to be caught flat-footed if Flacco's injury is serious. According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun, the Ravens needed to employ assistant coaches to stand in as quarterbacks during running drills Thursday. Aside from Mallett, Dustin Vaughan is the only other quarterback on the roster currently. While Harbaugh said Flacco could be back in a week, the push to add another quarterback might indicate otherwise -- especially if they intend on being cautious.
"We found out yesterday that [Flacco] has been dealing with -- I guess it's something that's been bothering him for a week or two. He didn't say anything about it. It wasn't really that bad," Harbaugh said. "It flared up a little bit. [He] went to a back specialist. They're recommending about a week of rest. They're saying that should take care of it. I guess with a back, you can always say 'we'll see.' All indications from the back specialist are that he should be fine in about a week, and that's what we're hoping for and praying for."
Should the Ravens sign Kaepernick, it would end a lengthy impasse which began in early March when Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers. Since that moment, each quarterback signed ahead of Kaepernick has kick started a version of the same conversation: Has Kaepernick remained a free agent because of his decision to kneel during the national anthem during games in 2016 to raise awareness for social injustices?
Harbaugh was one of the few active NFL coaches who have even mentioned the quarterback's politics in an open setting, which makes Thursday's "speculation" -- Harbaugh's word -- worth following up on. Plus, if Kaepernick joined the Ravens it would reunite him with Greg Roman, the offensive coordinator he first played under in San Francisco.
Kaepernick, 29, went 1-10 as a starter in San Francisco last year with 2,241 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 468 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Outside of a capable backup, Kaepernick also could be a tremendous practice asset coveted by many defensive-minded head coaches for his ability to provide different looks to the starting defense throughout the week.