Sept. 8 (UPI) -- EA Sports announced Tuesday that free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been added to Madden NFL 21.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who remains unsigned by an NFL team, enters the popular football video game series for the first time since the 2016 season. He makes his virtual comeback as the top free-agent signal-caller in Madden NFL 21 with an 81 overall rating.
"Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback," EA Sports said in a statement. "The team at EA Sports, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game. We've had a long relationship with Colin through Madden NFL and worked through our past soundtrack mistakes.
"Knowing that our EA Sports experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin's position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football. We've worked with Colin to make this possible, and we're excited to bring it to all of you today.
"Starting today in Madden NFL 21, fans can put Colin Kaepernick at the helm of any NFL team in Franchise mode, as well as play with him in Play Now. We look forward to seeing Colin on Madden NFL teams everywhere."
Kaepernick played six seasons with the 49ers before parting ways with the franchise after the 2016 campaign. He hasn't played in the NFL since that season, when he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.
In light of the nationwide protests against social injustice and police brutality this year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last month said, "I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to."
Goodell also encouraged NFL teams to sign Kaepernick for the 2020 season.
"If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's going to take a team to make that decision," Goodell said. "But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that."
Kaepernick, 32, has completed 59.8% of his throws for 12,271 passing yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions across 69 games in his NFL career. He has added 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.