ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Bills running back LeSean McCoy isn't surprised Colin Kaepernick has had difficulty finding a job. And thinks it has little to do with the quarterback's decision to not stand for the anthem last season.
Some teams, McCoy said following practice Thursday, might consider it not being worth the "chaos" to take on a polarizing player such as Kaepernick to fill what's likely to be a backup role.
"You've just got to look at all sides like, if I'm an owner or the GM of a team, do I want to put him on my team?" McCoy said. "Is he good enough to be on the squad to even deal with everything that's going on?"
Kaepernick remains unsigned after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers after last season. Critics have accused the NFL of punishing the sixth-year player for refusing to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against blacks.
"That may have something to do with it, but I think also it has a lot to do with his play," McCoy said. "There's certain players that could be on the team with big distractions, and there's other players that it's not good enough or not worth it."
He said it's easier on teams to take on a distraction if it involves a star player such as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady or New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. because, unlike Kaepernick, they would immediately fill starting roles.
McCoy didn't change his stance when his former Eagles teammate Michael Vick was brought up as comparison, even though a distinction was made that Vick had been convicted of a crime. Vick signed with Philadelphia after spending 18 months in prison on dog fighting charges, drawing criticism from some fans who believed he should not be allowed to play pro football. Kaepernick has not been accused of any crimes.
"That's a great example. Take a guy like Michael Vick, who went through all that he went through," McCoy said. "He's 10 times better than Kaepernick. So you'll deal with that situation, you'll deal with that attention, the media aspect of it, the good, the bad attention to it compared to Kaepernick."
McCoy shared his views after being asked about his position regarding players protesting the anthems . He supports freedom of speech while adding he believes players can "choose a better platform to state their beliefs."
More than 1,000 people crowded the steps of the NFL's midtown Manhattan offices on Wednesday to demand Kaepernick be signed by a team before the start of the season next month.
Kaepernick thanked his supporters with a tweet with a photo of protesters raising their right fists in the air.
"Thank you to everyone who went out to support yesterday," Kaepernick said. "My faith has always been and always will be in the power of the people!"
McCoy, entering his third season in Buffalo and ninth in the NFL, has not shied away from speaking his mind.
Shortly after being dealt to Buffalo, McCoy criticized his former coach Chip Kelly for making the trade by suggesting the move was racially motivated.
He caused a stir in February 2016, when he was involved in a nightclub brawl with off-duty police officers in Philadelphia. No charges were filed after prosecutors said they could not prove who initiated the fight.
McCoy's spoke at a time questions have been raised about his future in Buffalo. The Bills are rebuilding through youth and stockpiling draft picks.
Two weeks ago, Buffalo acquired a second- and third-round pick in trading star receiver Sammy Watkins and starting cornerback Ronald Darby in two separate deals.
Having heard the trade rumors, McCoy said he's been assured by coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane he's not going anywhere.
"I asked them about it and they said it's false," he said. "People make things up."
McCoy is instead focused on Buffalo's preseason game at Baltimore on Saturday night, and looking ahead to the season opener on Sept. 10.
"I feel like I'm one of the key guys here," McCoy said. "I don't want to leave. Buffalo embraced me with open arms and they took me in."