Ex-QBs making their way back
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
Everybody loves a good comeback story. A classic tale of a has-been making one last attempt at the big leagues is the stuff movies are made from. The NFL currently has three quarterbacks trying to make their way back into the game. Unfortunately, none of them are quite Hollywood material. Pat White, Vince Young, and the ever-infamous JaMarcus Russell are all having one more kick at the can.
Perhaps coming as a surprise to some, White looks to be the one most likely to stick on a roster at this point. After being cut by the Dolphins at the start of the 2010 season after being a second-round bust, White had a short stint in baseball before signing on for a brief time with the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL. And now the former West Virginia Mountaineer has seen interest in the form of workouts from the 49ers and the Giants, and appears to be gaining steam. With mobile quarterbacks becoming the flavour-of-the-day in the NFL, the agile White is gradually gathering a crowd around him. The 49ers look to be a good fit for White, due to the similar playing style he shares with starter Colin Kaepernick. Add in the fact that number two on the depth chart is currently Scott Tolzien, and White starts to look like a very attractive option.
In contrast to White, Vince Young had it all going for him. He was the third-overall pick in the draft and was given every possible opportunity to succeed. To his credit, he made two Pro Bowls during his time in Tennessee, but he always had character concerns following him around. Under the stern Jeff Fisher, Young would become Rookie of the Year, lose his starting gig, become Comeback Player of the Year, and then be cut. Young would later sign with the “Dream Team” in Philadelphia and then the Bills the next season, but would be cut before the season started. Rumours have been swirling about the former Texas Longhorn landing in New York, but nothing is concrete at this time. He was well over-the-hill and didn’t look to have much left in the few games he got as an Eagle, but when Mark Sanchez is your main man behind centre, it doesn’t hurt to try someone else out.
JaMarcus Russell is definitely the most intriguing player of the three, but he’s also the most unlikely to make a successful comeback. The massive six-foot-six, 300-plus-pound signal caller out of LSU is known to many as the biggest bust in NFL history. After being taken number-one overall in the draft by the Oakland Raiders, Russell would go on to have three of the most miserable seasons in history, before ultimately being shown the door with $39 million in his back pocket. It was inevitable really. Russell was a classic Al Davis pick; outstanding physical tools, but severely lacking in a few key areas—like quarterback smarts. He never settled into the role the franchise had envisioned for him, and it appears to have been mostly his fault. Falling asleep in meetings and a poor work ethic are rarely hallmarks of a future star, and Russell was no exception. He’ll get a look from a few teams, if only for curiosity’s sake, but don’t count on him barking out the snap count anytime soon.
On a related note, the Raiders still haven’t recovered from Russell’s time in Oakland, and look set to have to go into a full rebuilding mode again since Carson Palmer hasn’t panned out. How does that man still have a job?