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Matt Nagy ‘cautiously optimistic’ Mitchell Trubisky will play

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy is “cautiously optimistic” that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be medically cleared to return from a non-throwing shoulder injury and start on Sunday versus the New Orleans Saints.

“I always say ‘cautiously optimistic’… I feel good about [where we are with Trubisky],” Nagy said Wednesday. “But we’re preparing with both [quarterbacks right now].”

Trubisky, who practiced on Wednesday, reported that he’s close to full strength but said he needs to wear a harness on his left shoulder in order to play.

“I feel close [to 100%],” Trubisky said before practice.

“I think I’ve just got to show the training staff and the coaches that my shoulder and everything is strong enough to be able to put me out there, to withstand hits, to be able to do my job to 100 percent. I need to show them throughout practice this week that I’m good to go and I feel comfortable about where I’m at. We’ve done a good job with this rehab plan of getting on the same page and just communicating, and hopefully once I show everyone that I’m good to go in practice this week, they’ll let me roll and not look back.”

Trubisky suffered a dislocated left shoulder and slight labrum tear in the first quarter of Chicago’s victory over the Vikings on Sept. 29. Team doctors determined that Trubisky would not need to undergo surgery, but backup quarterback Chase Daniel started the next week against the Raiders in London.

“It was definitely painful,” Trubisky said of the injury. “I definitely wasn’t thinking ‘Is my season over?’ or anything bad like that, I was more thinking, ‘Can I go back in and finish the game?’ Unfortunately, I couldn’t.

“It’s different because it’s not my throwing shoulder, and that’s why I thought I might be able to go back in. I thought, oh, it’s just my left arm, maybe I could just catch a snap and be able to do all the handoffs and stuff and be able to throw, but I really couldn’t move it. So if what happened to this left shoulder would happen to my right, we might be in a different situation, but it feels pretty good right now. I’m pleased about the progress we’ve made, a lot of credit to the training staff in just getting that recovery, and thank goodness it recovered quickly.”

Trubisky finished last season with respectable numbers in Nagy’s system, passing for 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions (95.4 quarterback rating) as Chicago went 12-4 and won its first NFC North title since 2010.

But Trubisky has mostly struggled thus far in 2019.

The former second overall pick had subpar outings versus Green Bay and Denver to open the year. He bounced back with a three-touchdown performance in Washington in Week 3 but has passed for just 588 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Chicago’s offense ranks near the bottom of the league in virtually every important offensive statistical category.

Trubisky rushed for a combined 669 yards and five touchdowns over his first two seasons in the league, but he has run only five times for 21 yards in 2019.

“The main thing we’ve got to do is definitely show consistency,” Trubisky said. “But we had some plays where we had some big-play potential. Or we had some drives that we had some good plays. And then we kind of sputtered out and didn’t finish the drives.

“Hopefully, we’ll have some things that open up. We look at what we did the first couple of games with some of the concepts, the runs and what everyone’s comfortable with and get those going. Get on the same page and make sure that we’re just executing. We’ve got enough talent to make it happen. We just got to believe in it.”

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Colin Kaepernick throws passes for 40 minutes at workout, urges NFL to ‘stop running’

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RIVERDALE, Ga. — Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who completed a 40-minute workout in front of representatives from eight NFL teams, said he’s ready for another opportunity and wants the league to “stop running” from him.

Kaepernick saluted about 250 fans then addressed the media after his workout, which was moved from the Atlanta Falcons’ facility to Charles R. Drew High School. Kaepernick, who once quarterbacked the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl, took a stand against police brutality and social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem and has been out of football since 2016.

“I’ve been ready for three years,” Kaepernick said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here: showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.

“We’re out here. We’re ready to play. We’re ready to go anywhere. My agent, Jeff Nalley, is ready to talk any team. I’ll interview with any team at any time. I’ve been ready.”

Kaepernick showed he still has an arm in completing deep balls to Brice Butler, Bruce Ellington, Jordan Veasy, and Ari Wertz. Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, who supported Kaepernick going back to their days with the 49ers, was at the beginning off the workout but had to leave, with a game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Kaepenerick looked bulkier up top during his playing days and appeared to impress with his accuracy, although not all his throws were perfect.

The workout originally was slated to take place at the Falcons’ facility in front of more than 20 NFL teams, but Kaepernick’s camp switched venues after the NFL declined to have cameras in to record the workout. Kaepernick’s camp wanted “transparency” regarding the workout, and wanted the media to have access.

In a statement, the NFL said it was “disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout.” The league referenced recent negotiations with Kaepernick’s representatives over the workout and citing, among others, media availability and a liability waiver.

“Colin’s decision has no effect on his status in the league. He remains an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any club,” the NFL said.

Nalley, Kaepernick’s agent, was asked about his thoughts on the process as a whole.

“I think myself, I think all of you all had questions about it all week,” Nalley said. “Something didn’t smell right. Again, nothing like this has ever happened. Roger Goddell said that the league does not get involved in player workouts, team decisions. So why did they do this? So I think from the beginning it seemed odd. And so that’s why we had to protect him in this whole process.”

Nalley seemed skeptical about Kaepernick getting a chance to sign on a team anytime soon when asked if he expected Kaepernick to receive a legit opportunity.

“I hope so, but I don’t know,” Nalley said. “I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit pessimistic because I’ve talked to all 32 teams. I’ve reached out to them recently and none of them have had any interest. I’ll tell you this: No team asked for this workout. The league office ask for this workout. And, I’ve got to tell you what, I’ve got to hand it to Colin. He stepped up, showed his in shape. I talked to the NFL people out here today. They said his arm talent is elite, that it’s the same as when he came out of college. I even asked them if you want to get him on a scale, see what he weighs, they said, ‘We don’t need to. He looks ripped. He looks in great shape.’ ”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Colin Kaepernick wraps up Atlanta-area workout, says he’s ready to go

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Colin Kaepernick has completed his workout for what his agent said were eight NFL teams at an Atlanta-area high school on Saturday.

The 32-year-old former Pro Bowl quarterback said in a statement after the workout, which began two hours later than previously planned and without the blessing of the NFL, that he’s ready to go and waiting to hear from the league. He didn’t take any questions from the media.

“I’ve been ready for 3 years, I’ve been denied for 3 years,” Kaepernick said in the statement. “We all know why I came out here showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people. We’re out here, we’re ready to play.”

Agent Jeff Nalley told reporters after the workout that he’s skeptical about the whole process with his client and is hopeful that Kaepernick gets signed.

Kaepernick’s representatives earlier said that they decided to suddenly move the session 60 miles away from the Atlanta Falcons‘ training complex in Flowery Branch to a high school in Riverdale to let the media watch and videotape the workout, adding the shift was prompted “because of recent decisions made by the NFL.”

“From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one,” his representatives said in a statement.

In a statement, the NFL said it was “disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout.” The league referenced recent negotiations with Kaepernick’s representatives over the workout and citing, among others, media availability and a liability waiver.

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Colin Kaepernick workout moved to new location without NFL affiliation

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Colin Kaepernick’s scheduled workout on Saturday was relocated to an Atlanta-area high school, beginning two hours later than previously planned and without the blessing of the NFL.

The NFL and Kaepernick’s representatives were at odds over the quarterback’s liability waiver and the overall transparency of the workout.

The league had previously declined to allow media and cameras into the workout, as Kaepernick had requested, attorney Ben Meiselas and agent Jeff Nalley said in a statement. They said media would now be allowed to attend the workout.

“From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one,” Meiselas and Nalley said. “Most recently, the NFL has demanded that as a precondition to the workout, Mr. Kaepernick sign an unusual liability waiver that addresses employment-related issues and rejected the standard liability waiver from physical injury proposed by Mr. Kaepernick’s representatives.

“… Mr. Kaepernick simply asks for a transparent and open process which is why a new location has been selected for today.”

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the NFL presented its own case in regard to the liability waiver.

“On Wednesday, we sent Colin’s representatives a standard liability waiver based on the waiver used by National Invitational Camp at all NFL Combines and by NFL clubs when trying out free agent players,” the NFL said. “At noon today, Colin’s representatives sent a completely rewritten and insufficient waiver.”

The workout is now being held at an Atlanta-area high school and is no longer officially affiliated with the NFL. The originally planned NFL workout had been scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET at the Atlanta Falcons‘ practice facility.

The NFL said it was not informed of Kaepernick’s change in plans until 2:30 p.m. ET and described the situation by saying Kaepernick “did not appear for his workout.”

According to the league, 25 teams were present for its sanctioned workout, and the league had planned to send video of the workout and an interview with Kaepernick to all 32 teams. It is not clear how many teams were in attendance for Kaepernick’s own workout.

Former NFL coach Hue Jackson had been set to lead the drills, with former NFL coach Joe Philbin in attendance to assist, the league said Thursday. On Saturday, the league said Jackson talked with Kaepernick’s agent about what drills would be run at the workout.

In its statement, the NFL said it had “made considerable effort to work cooperatively with Colin’s representatives,” detailing that it allowed his agents to suggest interview questions, for Nike and Kaepernick to shoot an ad that mentioned all the teams present at the workout, and for Kaepernick to bring his own receivers.

Sources had told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that the NFL was providing three wide receivers for the workout. But the league had not given out the names of those receivers. Bruce Ellington, who played with Kaepernick on the San Francisco 49ers in 2014 and 2015, was among the receivers Kaepernick worked out with Saturday.

A source told ESPN’s Howard Bryant that Kaepernick’s team did bring in five wide receivers to be part of the workout, which will include about 60 passes.

Kaepernick warmed up while wearing a shirt that read “Kunta Kinte,” but removed it once the workout began. Kunta Kinte is the name of a slave character from the novel and television miniseries “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.”

Kaepernick, 32, has been out of football since 2016, the year he began protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the pregame national anthem.

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