“I made some mistakes. And when you have the type of mistakes that I have, being quarterback in the NFL, it can ruin your career. So right now, I’m trying to fight hard to give it another go, another shot.”

tumblr_mg3wb1LxDm1qj2uj7o1_1280 30 year old Quarterback Vince Young has certainly had an up and down career. After a glorious career with the Longhorns, winning the Manning Award, two Rose Bowl MVPs and leading the Longhorns to a BCS Championship game with an unbeaten record, being a franchise Quarterback like a lock.

Young – picked third overall in the 2004 draft by the Titans – had enough raw ability to get Tennessee back to the Superbowl, to finish the job that the late Steve McNair started at the turn of the century. But unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way.

Sure, there were plenty of highlights during his time in two-tone blue, like the 10-6 2007 season and the impressive rookie season. Leading the Titans to a win after being down 21-0 in the fourth quarter against a young Eli Manning, is still a standout memory for many Titans fans.

“Before the draft — and you know this, you’ve read this — some scouts were saying, ‘Vince Young is either gonna be the biggest thing in football or he’s gonna be a total bust.’ To those people, you say what?” 60 Minutes Correspondent Scott Pelley asked Young.

“I love you, too,” Replied a laughing Vince.

Image: San Diego Chargers v Tennessee Titans Young’s combination of a strong arm and quick feet made him exciting to, watch, unpredictable and flashy. When he and his ability started to fade though, it faded quickly. A mixture of injuries and disappointing performances forced him to concede his position in the Volunteer state to Kerry Collins before being released and picked up by the Eagles.

His time with the Eagles wasn’t exactly spectacular either, as part of the “Dream Team” in Philly, -which did in fact spend the season dreaming, but about being a good team instead of a dumpster fire – Young took his last snaps as a starter. This left Young with another new team as Buffalo then tried to salvage his career during last season.

So where exactly did Vince Young find himself just a couple of months ago? A free agent, released by the Bills after just one year and totally bankrupt. Pretty much all that money from his rookie contract is gone. Suddenly, spending thousands of dollars at TGI Fridays and the Cheesecake Factory in his early years didn’t seem so smart did it? How about booking almost every seat of a plane to get a bit of time to yourself on a commercial flight? Didn’t think so.

Yes, Vince Young has become a bust. Not quite Jamarcus Russell, because at least Vince his stayed in the league, but most definitely a bust. He’s a textbook example of a college young gun with a myriad of talents and potential, from a broken home, getting paid millions of dollars after spending a childhood in poverty. You can say what you like about the guy, and it would probably be justified and understandable.

It is however quite easy to see the other side to this story, getting heaps of cash at such a young age, after being brought up by a Mother and Grandmother while his Dad served time in jail automatically made his future financial stability tragically ill-fated.

rawImage The year 2013 sees Young find himself at a crossroads, a last chance situation – and where has he ended up? As a backup for the Green Bay Packers and for the first time since 2007, with a true purpose outside of warming the bench. The read option has taken the NFL by storm, we all know that, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III are all using it, and with success.

Vince Young just so happens to come from a read option system, crafted to perfection for him by the ever optimistic Mack Brown from Texas. Behind center for the Longhorns Yougng threw 44 touchdowns in his three year span, and rushed for 37. The one-year deal handed to Young by the Pack is pretty much a ticket to the cinema, to watch and learn more about the read option. It’s a tactical move to try and better the best teams in the NFC, San Francisco and Seattle – it may well just work.

Along with that, Young can also be the backup Green Bay have longed for after losing Matt Flynn at the end of the 2011 season. Graham Harrell and BJ Coleman have already shown that they are not quite up to the job in the NFL, each time they have taken extended reps in camp. Vince Young is a winner, 31-19 as an NFL starter. He has the experience of being at the top of the world and then the bottom. In many cases that’s the sort of backup you want. If Young does ever get the chance to start for the Packers, he will have a fire in his belly, and may just get the Pack out of a rut sometime in the future, god forbid that Aaron Rodgers goes down.

Before the 2006 draft, analyst Trey Wingo had his turn to poke and prod the latest talent College had to offer, Young impressed, like he always used to. After a long sit down with the Texas native, he came to a conclusion.”One thing you can say about Vince Young without question–he is a solid citizen and a humble man.”

Vince Young has been more than that though. He’s been a lot of things over the years – ignorant, lazy, un-inspired, shrewd, ambiguous and at times uber-talented. But now his reset button has been firmly pressed, he’s staring fresh with a new organization and goal for the tail end of his career. Vince Young is fighting for a job, money, pride and respect.

“I just want to make sure I’ve got the right plays, make sure I get the guys out of the huddle, I don’t want any delay of games or things like that. That’s the biggest thing about being a quarterback, getting guys into the right position and running the right routes.” Young explained before his on-field debut in Green.

It’s been a long time coming, but the man which Sports Illustrated once called “Unstoppable”, has finally grown up, and the Packers are better for it.

 

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