Photo via Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY Sports
As reported two days ago, Vince Young wants to return to his playing ways after five years away from the field, employing Leigh Steinberg as his agent. To use a farfetched comparison, Tom Brady proved in the Super Bowl that age is in the eye of the beholder behind the snap in the NFL. Outside of the typical winning programs, the depth at the position on losing teams is lacking considerably: Josh McCown. Fitzpatrick. Blaine-freaking-Gabbert is somehow still the Jacksonville starter despite throwing more interceptions than career wins.
Young bottomed out after getting cut by the Cleveland Browns in 2014 – a graveyard where quarterback careers go to die. The spring league has already announced some interest, so has the CFL — because Canadians love former NFL players past their prime, apparently.
The hiring of Steinberg was a power play, a move seemingly showing that a no-nonsense agent taking a gamble on a player with problems on-and-off the field could make a comeback in a league that employs 90+ quarterbacks each season. With a DUI arrest early last year, and the fact that he hasn’t played a regular season game since Blue Ivy Carter was born, the Young return is unlikely, and even more absurd when you consider that few players take such a lengthy break before returning to the game.
Here are the four likeliest scenarios for Young to play football again:
The Browns have nothing to lose… besides more games, which they did in 93.8% of their games last year. After initiating a broken down RG III, an undersized Johnny Manziel and 24 other equally disposable quarterbacks since 1999, Cleveland could take another gamble and admit their mistakes for cutting Young.
Chicago, Houston, Jacksonville, LA, New York and San Francisco will all have a collective moment of terrible quarterback epiphany, opting to hold a depth battle during training camp. The 49ers bowed out at dead last in passing yards per game (181.9); LA (184.4), Buffalo (189.8), Houston (197.7) and Cleveland (204) rounded out the bottom five.
Young has the veteran chops to be a backup with experience; the good kind, not the weight gain or law breaking variety.
If the XFL was the “eXtra Fun League”, the CFL is the “Comeback Football League”, where former college and pro athletes search for redemption in the Northern wilderness. Currently, across all nine teams in the league, there are 43 former SEC players competing. The most high-profiled recruit and almost honorary Canadian was Tim Tebow, when he giddily refused an invitation by the Montreal Alouettes – which sounds like a fun Canadian choir – and instead, excitedly failed a baseball bid; even former Florida coach Urban Meyer contemplated a job offer up yonder.
Retired NFL players Doug Floutie, Brandon Browner and Joe Theismann all honed their craft for multiple years in the league before making successful returns to the States.
Already, Steinberg has engaged in early negotiations with the Saskatchewan Roughriders for Young to compete in the summer; the average starting salary for the league is $100 K, which is around what Young makes as a UT program ambassador, LHN correspondent and sometime motivational speaker.
Plus, team rules state that if you say Saskatchewan Roughriders five times in a row, you win a bonus, so even more money in Young’s pocket if he practices numerous repetitions.
Saskatchewan floundered at dead last in the Western Division (5-13) last season; if Young is serious about his comeback bid in professional football, he may consider playing for the Calgary Stampeders, who boast four consecutive No. 1 rankings in the West and claimed the top spot in all but two seasons in league history.
The NFL’s Spring League will host its inaugural season this coming April, a four team developmental league for veteran players located at White Sulphur Springs — a location name akin to something found in a D&D Master guide. The Spring League will act as a support group for shunned NFL players, inviting the likes of Vince Young, Ray Rice and Johnny Manziel to compete. The free agents will be invited to participate in six games and could be a good platform for former aspiring talent.
Picture this: The emergence of Vance Yung befuddles crowds at Darryl K Royal. Even announcers admit the true freshman looks just like the burnt orange legend. Through deep connections, and the checks handed to him yearly by the Longhorns for his ambassador workload, Young changes his name and fakes his admission, making a fabled return to the cheers of the UT faithful. The Tom Herman and Yung dream team wins four consecutive CFP Champions before the NCAA discovers the ruse.
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