The conditions of the invitation leave serious doubt as to whether the league has extended it in good faith. It is not clear who the attendees will be — general managers and head coaches or scouts who do not have the authority to make an offer. On Thursday, the N.F.L. released a statement confirming that 11 teams would attend and that Hue Jackson, the former Cleveland Browns coach, would lead the drills.
There is also the question of whether Kaepernick will even go through with it. The only public confirmation of his participation came from his Twitter posting on Tuesday that said he “can’t wait to see the head coaches and G.M.s.”
The workout itself is governed by parameters — day, time, location — dictated, on four days’ notice, by the N.F.L. and which Kaepernick and his representatives tried, to no avail, to change. The leap of faith involved seems entirely borne by Kaepernick. And yet, with the prospect of a future no doubt filled with book deals and appearances, Kaepernick has lobbied to re-enter the N.F.L., via his social media accounts and through his representatives, despite the potential for football injuries, negative public reaction or damage to his status as an iconoclast hero.
“Going back into the cage, so to speak, is a big decision,” said Jay Coakley, a sports sociologist at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, in a telephone interview. “And I think that many of us who understand where athletes are coming from, the love of their sport and the desire to play, often supersedes other considerations.”