49ers’ Harold believes Kaepernick is only unsigned because of protests

Eli Harold is among the many in the NFL community not buying into the idea that teams are passing up Colin Kaepernick for football reasons.

The San Francisco 49ers linebacker, a teammate of Kaepernick's for the last two seasons, is admittedly irked about a situation he considers to be a direct product of the quarterback's national anthem protests in 2016.

"It's frustrating," Harold said, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN. "It's frustrating for me because I really think it has everything to do with the protest that he did. Some general managers and owners are scared to touch him simply because they're scared to lose revenue, money. We all know he's better than some of these guys that went in free agency but that's neither here nor there. He'll be signed by training camp, by the time training camp starts. But it's frustrating."

Harold was one of the 49ers players who knelt alongside Kaepernick during the pregame demonstrations last season.

The 23-year-old says he's spoken to his former teammate on several occasions this offseason, adding that his confidence about the situation working itself out stems from a similar belief from Kaepernick himself.

"His spirits are very high," Harold said. "We talked. I told him good luck with everything. That's when he told me he will be signed. So I said, 'Yeah, I have faith in you. You proved yourself last year.'"

Kaepernick has struggled to generate interest on the free-agent market despite being one of few productive players in an otherwise disaster of a 49ers offense last season.

He recently met with the Seattle Seahawks, and reports have indicated his first visit of the offseason went well, but it's unclear whether the team intends to pursue a deal.

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