Colin Kaepernick's star power is bigger NOW than when he was playing football -- and he doesn't need the NFL's platform to be effective in his off-the-field mission ... so says T.I.
There are some people who believe without being on an NFL roster, people will lose interest in Kaepernick -- and he'll eventually become irrelevant and fade away.
But, not T.I. -- who appeared on "TMZ Live" and explained why Colin's more influential now than ever ... and suggested going back to the NFL might actually take his focus away from the social justice issues he's been tackling.
That said, if Colin does get signed and goes back to the league, T.I. says he'll support Kaepernick 100% ... knowing football is still a major passion for the guy.