- The Washington Times
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

ASHBURN — Three weeks ago, Jordan Veasy saw the news on Colin Kaepernick’s workout for the NFL, and the idea popped into his head.

The 24-year-old wide receiver, then-unsigned but looking for his next NFL gig after failing to latch on with the Indianapolis Colts, figured Kaepernick would need NFL-quality receivers at his audition in Atlanta.

It’s just a two-hour drive to Atlanta from Veasy’s hometown of Gadsden, Alabama, so he took a chance: He scoured the internet, looking for a way to connect with Kaepernick, and when he found an email address for Kaepernick’s agent, he sent a message offering to join the workout.

“I was going to be running routes back home at Gadsden anyway,” Veasy said. “So I (figured I) might as well be doing it in front of a few scouts.”

The email worked. By that Friday, Veasy was in his car on the way to Atlanta to meet Kaepernick’s team. By Saturday, he was catching passes from the quarterback in front of seven NFL teams — including the Redskins.

Kaepernick went unsigned after, but Veasy impressed the Redskins enough that the team signed the former undrafted free agent this week to the practice squad.

Sitting at his new locker in the Redskins locker room Wednesday, Veasy said the Kaepernick workout was “very beneficial,” if a bit surreal. From getting to know Kaepernick personally to the last-minute change in venues, the wideout was quietly part of an event that garnered plenty of attention.

He was even on the receiving end of Kaepernick’s deep ball in a clip that has generated almost 3 million views. “I think (the workout) helped,” Veasy said. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be a part of it. Just being part of the history of it … It didn’t hurt.”

Veasy said he could relate to Kaepernick, who has been out of the NFL since 2017, the year the quarterback started kneeling during the national anthem.

Veasy knows what it’s like to wait for the phone to ring, hoping for another opportunity. He understands what it’s like to work out constantly in an effort to stay ready.

Undrafted out of California in 2018, he spent his first NFL offseason with the Tennessee Titans, only to be cut when the rosters went from 90 to 53. He was eventually signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad in December.

This year, Veasy spent months with the Colts, who released him in late August. He then joined the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad, though he was cut in October. Then came the waiting.

When he’s at home in Alabama, Veasy works out at night, usually starting at 6 p.m. He’s just wired that way, he said — much to the annoyance of his mother. She’s a kindergarten teacher and when her son gets back at midnight from the gym, it usually disrupts her sleeping schedule. “She’s like, ‘I’m tired of this,’” Veasy said with a laugh.

Those workouts, though, are part of what fuels Veasy’s drive to make it in the NFL.

“It’s crazy but those times when I’m able to be myself and I’m at home — I do want to be in (an NFL) building — but I do gain so much progress in those times being back home by myself,” Veasy said. In that bubble, he can see and chart his own progress more clearly. He gets a better sense of where he needs to improve.

“It’s just something you buy into, man. … I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Initially, Veasy didn’t hear back from Kaepernick’s agent, Jeff Nailey. But on Wednesday of that week, he received a message asking if he was in Atlanta.

Not wanting to blow the chance, Veasy lied and said yes. He hoped for another message, but the two didn’t talk again until Friday. When they did, Nailey called at 10 a.m. — Veasy had just woken up — and asked the receiver if he could meet Kaepernick at Georgia Tech by 1 p.m.

Veasy didn’t need to think about it. He hit the road.

“It’s always nice to have stability,” Veasy said. “It helps. But I don’t let any circumstance or situation define me. So being able to go into everything, I know my purpose and what I’m supposed to do is being ready. And so as long as I’m ready, wherever I’m going to be, I’m going to put my best foot forward.”

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.