The Ravens are disputing an ESPN report that owner Steve Bisciotti is resisting signing free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick despite a preference from general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh to do so.
“We are going through a process, and we have not made a decision,” Newsome said Wednesday afternoon in a statement. “Steve Bisciotti has not told us we cannot sign Colin Kaepernick, nor has he blocked the move. Whoever is making those claims is wrong.”
The report, which surfaced during Wednesday morning’s practice, cited sources who said that Newsome and Harbaugh support adding Kaepernick to the roster. That same report said they have “met resistance” from Bisciotti, who said on Sunday during a fan forum with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that the club was “keeping our door open.”
At the fan forum before the Ravens’ open practice Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium, team officials acknowledged they have had direct discussions with Kaepnerick, but they still haven’t made a decision whether they will sign him or not.
“I hope we do what is best for the team and balance that with what is best for our fans,” Bisciotti said in response to a question from a fan about how signing Kaepernick could “damage your brand.”
“We do want to win games, and I’m not sure right now that he is going to help us do that,” Bisciotti said of Kaepernick. “We’re monitoring Joe, we’ve talked to Joe about it. We’re monitoring Mallett, we’re keeping our door open.”
After Wednesday’s practice, Harbaugh said he had no new information on the Kaepernick front.
“I do not have an update on Colin Kaepernick or our quarterback situation,” he said. “I’ll frame that this way: there are other positions we’re looking at and I don’t have any updates on those either. I think they’re all in the same category.”
It has been almost a week since Harbaugh said the Ravens were contemplating adding the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who chose not to stand for the national anthem last season to spotlight racial inequality in the United States and was heavily criticized in some circles for that stance.
Kaepernick, who is 3-16 as a starter in the past two years, has been a free agent since March 1 when he opted out of his contract with the 49ers.
Tight end Benjamin Watson said Kaepernick would be accepted in the locker room if the club thought he could help the team succeed.
“It’s about, can you help us win games? And that’s it,” Watson said. “Inside of our locker room, we have guys who have all types of political stances, religious stances, people that are from the country, the city, people that are different ethnicities, and we respect each other.
“We get along and come in here and try to put a good product on the field and try to win games, and that is what’s respected in our locker room.”
Ravens starter Joe Flacco has been sidelined throughout training camp by a back injury. Backup Ryan Mallett has labored so far, and Dustin Vaughan, who is with his fourth team in as many years, and Josh Woodrum, who replaced David Olson on Monday, are the other quarterbacks.
Harbaugh said Flacco, who sat out the final six games of the 2015 campaign because of a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, is progressing well in his recovery.
“You can’t really say exactly when or when we might decide,” he said. “But all indications from Joe and from our trainer Mark Smith have been very positive.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.