Colin Kaepernick will feature in the Madden NFL video game for the first time since 2016.

Kaepernick has not played an NFL snap since the end of the 2016 season, when the then San Francisco 49ers quarterback created headlines by protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the playing of the United States national anthem.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has encouraged teams to sign Kaepernick and last month said he wished the league had “listened earlier” to what his protest was about.

Those comments followed an upswell in support for the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of George Floyd in police custody in May.

And in a statement confirming his inclusion in Madden 21, EA SPORTS said: “Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-calibre quarterback.

“The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.

“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 has received an overall rating of 81 in the game, putting him in the top 15 of the 111 playable quarterbacks.

A second-round draft pick of the 49ers in the 2011 season, Kaepernick led them to Super Bowl XLVII after taking over as starter from Alex Smith in the 2012 season. San Francisco lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens.

He guided them back to the NFC Championship game in the 2013 season and has 12,271 passing yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his NFL career.

Known for his dual-threat ability, Kaepernick also has 2,300 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground to his name. 

He holds the NFL record for the most rushing yards in a playoff game, racking up 181 in his first postseason appearance – a 45-31 win over the Green Bay Packers.