Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since his final year with the 49ers in 2016 when he made headlines when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
The opportunity to work out with an iconic figure like Kaepernick was meaningful for Gray.
“It was a great impression working out with a Super Bowl quarterback, a great quarterback at that,” he said. “It was a surreal moment for me, really.”
The Niners drafted Gray in the third round of the draft two weeks ago, hoping the speedy receiver out of SMU adds another deep-threat option for Lance in coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Gray arrived at the Niners facility on Thursday to prepare for his first rookie minicamp. He got the opportunity to meet Lance in person and began getting acclimated before taking part in his first NFL practice on Friday.
“It’s going to feel like a dream come true, really, just to be out there in an NFL uniform, on an NFL field,” he said. “It’s just going to feel like a great moment, a moment I can’t explain.”
The journey to the NFL was a long process for Gray, who started off at junior college at Blinn College after failing to qualify academically for a four-year school.
“It was a tough moment in my life,” he said. “I kind of felt like a failure at the time, knowing that I was a non-qualifier coming out of high school. It kind of hurt me a little bit, like I let my mom down, my family and friends. But it made me a stronger person. It made me a stronger player. It made me want to really just never be satisfied.”
The Niners also took LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price 12 spots before Gray at No. 93 before adding some depth at cornerback and the offensive line on day three of the draft.
San Francisco finished it off by taking quarterback Brock Purdy with the final pick as Mr. Irrelevant.
“After the draft, I had family and friends coming over and just having fun with it or texting me, saying like, ‘You’re relevant to us,’ and all that kind of thing,” Purdy said. “They’ve been having fun with it. But for me, I get an opportunity. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
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