NEW YORK — Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against blacks, showed their solidarity with him and his cause Wednesday at a rally outside the headquarters of the National Football League.

More than 1,000 people, many wearing jerseys bearing Kaepernick’s name, crowded the steps outside the NFL’s midtown Manhattan offices.

Kaepernick, who once took the 49ers to the Super Bowl, opted out of his contract with the team in March and remains unsigned. Supporters say he’s being blackballed for his advocacy, but some critics say he shouldn’t have sat or kneeled during the anthem or contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.

Chants at the demonstration included “Boycott! Boycott!” Women’s March organizer Tamika Mallory, addressing football fans, said, “I don’t care how long you’ve been watching football, if they don’t stand up for your children, turn the damn TV off.”

A political commentator, Symone Sanders, said, “We are all standing with Kaepernick. It is time for the NFL to put up or shut up.”

STEELERS: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he’ll make his first appearance of the season Saturday at home when the Steelers play the Indianapolis Colts in their third preseason game.

It promises to be a brief appearance, likely no more than two series for him with the first-team offense.

49ERS: Safety Jimmie Ward was taken off the physically unable to perform list after missing nearly four weeks of practice with a hamstring injury.

Ward was cleared to return and took part in practice on a limited basis. He hurt his hamstring doing a conditioning test July 27 and has been sidelined ever since.

JAGUARS: Quarterback Chad Henne will start the preseason game against Carolina, a change that could signal the end of Blake Bortles’ career with the team.

Coach Doug Marrone made the announcement nearly a week after creating a quarterback competition in Jacksonville for the first time since 2013. Marrone said both quarterbacks will get time with the first team.

RAIDERS: Left tackle Donald Penn ended his holdout with the team.

Penn reported for practice after holding out for 26 days. He was looking for an improved contract but General Manager Reggie McKenzie said earlier in training camp that he wouldn’t negotiate a new deal until Penn arrived at camp.

FALCONS: Coach Dan Quinn said there’s no need to rush Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman back to play in an exhibition game.

When Atlanta opens the regular season Sept. 10 at Chicago, Quinn is confident both players will be ready. Jones is recovering from offseason foot surgery and Freeman from a concussion.

JETS: New York signed tight end Brandon Barnes and released wide receiver Marquess Wilson.

Barnes was waived Aug. 9 by Detroit after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama State in April. He had 29 catches for 436 yards and six touchdowns in his college career.

HALL OF Famers Kellen Winslow and Harry Carson are supporting Cyrus Mehri’s candidacy for executive director of the players’ union.

The civil rights lawyer who co-wrote the league’s Rooney Rule announced Tuesday that he intends to challenge DeMaurice Smith for the top job at the NFL Players Association. Winslow, Carson and John Wooten backed Mehri, though they no longer are voting members of the union.

BEARS: Chicago signed offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr. to a contract extension.

Leno started all 16 games at left tackle last year and is entering his fourth season with the Bears. Last year marked the second straight season he made 16 starts. He was one of the two Bears offensive players to start every game in 2016.

WASHINGTON: Receiver Jordan Reed practiced for the first time this preseason and called himself 100 percent after missing almost a month with a toe injury.

The absence of quarterback Kirk Cousins’ most consistent and effective target was noticeable in two games, and now the team will get to see what it can do with Reed healthy.

GIANTS: New York waived offensive lineman Michael Bowie days after finding out he had been charged with assault and battery in Oklahoma.

The team learned of the charges on Saturday and didn’t allow him to travel to Cleveland for a preseason game Monday night.