A year ago the Green Bay Packers were looking for people to backup Aaron Rodgers after losing all of their primary options, while kicking tires on players in free agency they decided to take a chance on Vince Young. (espn) Vince Young was once a very promising up and comer, he set the world on fire while playing for the Texas Longhorns in college, he finished as runner up to Reggie Bush in Heisman voting, won a National Championship, and became the first player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards while rushing for 1,000 in a single season. (wikipedia) Young’s ability to run with the ball was outstanding, especially considering his size as a 6’5″ 230 lbs player, he constantly drew comparisons to Steve McNair, a man who had become a mentor to him earlier in his life. (nytimes) Young was such an incredible talent, which made him an easy pick for the Tennessee Titans, who were getting ready to send McNair away themselves and needed a quarterback of the future. (deadspin) Everything looked to be going incredibly well for Young, coming from the heights of college superstardom and landing on the same team as the man who was his mentor, it looked like he would be able to develop behind a man who was a similar player to himself, and eventually he could become the star in the NFL that he had been while playing in college. (footballsfuture)
When Young landed with the Titans in the draft, everything seemed to be looking up for the NFL newbie, unfortunately they didn’t stay facing that direction. The Titans eventually took steps toward ousting the incumbent McNair from his position as starting/franchise quarterback, it was evident that they planned to toss Young in as the starter right away. (nfl) With the way the NFL was setup in those days, where rookies made tons of money without taking a single snap on the upper level, it made retaining a veteran starter while grooming a young up and comer nearly impossible. (espn) In recent years the NFL and the Players Union has implemented a rookie wage scale that pays a set amount of money out to rookies over the first few years of their career before opening up the chance for them to cash in on their hard work. (cbssports) If this had been in place before the Titans may have been able to keep McNair on board long enough for him to develop Young into the player that his talents promised. Unfortunately, with Tennessee letting go of McNair, that development didn’t quite happen as planned, Young did fairly well for a couple years, but after a little time it seemed as if the train just somewhat went off the rails, eventually leading Tennessee to get rid of Young as well. (titansonline) After this he sort of floated around from team to team, landing with the Eagles as Michael Vick’s backup, then a spot on the Bills roster where he was once again cut, until he finally got his chance at redemption with the Packers last year, although it was short lived. (voices)
While Young didn’t land the spot on the roster of the Packers that he had hoped for, it wasn’t for a lack of talent or ability, even the management of the team stated that it was partly their fault because they picked him up too late into the year, not giving him a great chance to learn their plays and their system. (profootballtalk) This offseason saw former players from the NFL looking into Canada for an opportunity to return to the field, as in years past, with Chad Johnson signing on with the Montreal Alouettes, it was assumed that the Canadian League was the chosen destination for those who were once NFL players. (sportsillustrated) People just assumed, with no NFL teams jumping at Vince Young that he would be the next player to cross the border, until he stated firmly that he would not be going to Canada, he felt he still had chances in the NFL and if it wasn’t the NFL he wasn’t interested. (profootballtalk) Young had stated that he had a job waiting for him with the University of Texas if the NFL didn’t come calling his name, so Canada wasn’t an option, but that he truly believed he would land a job with an NFL franchise as he had heard there were teams interested. (cbssports) While many felt Young was just somewhat delusional, figuring no team was interested, at least one did as he landed a tryout with the QB depleted Cleveland Browns. (sportsillustrated) The Browns, after going back and forth on options, offered a one year deal to Young, who accepted their contract. (espn) Here we are again, another team in need has reached out to Vince Young, with any luck he’ll make the squad this year, even as a backup he could eventually drop the word bust from the stories written about him.