Tyler Eifert's display of patriotism on Instagram on Sunday could be interpreted as a jab at 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines when he refused to stand during the National Anthem Friday before a preseason game.
The Bengals tight end posted a photo saying his cousin, an active service member, took a Bengals flag with him on a mission "in hostile territory."
"But, thanks for defending the flag that really matters, even for the people who don't appreciate it," the post reads.
Kaepernick said he didn't stand during the anthem -- and will continue to sit during the anthem -- to protest racial injustice.
"I have great respect for men and women that have fought for this country," Kaepernick told NFL.com. "I have family. I have friends that gone and fought for this country. They fight for freedom. They fight for the people. They fight for liberty and justice for everyone. And that's not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn't holding their end of the bargain up as far as, you know, giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody."
While at his first Pro Bowl, Eifert collected signatures from fellow NFL stars to deliver to U.S. service members. He was also photographed at a Donald Trump rally in Sharonville in early July.
Eifert still recovering from ankle surgery, the result of a Pro Bowl injury. He's not expected to make the first few regular season games.
The Bengals face the Jets in New York on Sept. 11.