Former Texas Longhorns great Vince Young says he hopes to play in the NFL again one day, but if his playing career is in fact over he has a job waiting for him in Austin. He said the job would have him acting as an ambassador to the university and speaking at engagements, noting that supporting UT would be his priority.
Young, who led the Longhorns to a national championship in 2005, also said he still works out in preparation for a call from an NFL team. “You never know what could happen,” he said. “I just have to stay ready. There is some interest so I have to be prepared in case I get that call.”
Young’s seven-year NFL ride was a tumultuous one, but it began with a good deal of promise. He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the third overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and initially lived up to his billing, earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and an invite to the 2007 Pro Bowl right out of the gate. Young completed 51.9 percent of his passes that year for 2,199 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He added another 552 yards and 7 touchdowns rushing, but it was his ability to win—he led three fourth-quarter comebacks and had the best record as a starter of any rookie quarterback—that put him on the map.
His sophomore campaign met with mediocre numbers statistically, as Young completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 2,546 yards and 9 touchdowns to 17 interceptions, but he clinched a playoff berth for the Titans. He would struggle with injury the following season and lose his starting job to backup Kerry Collins after the first game of the 2008 season. Young won the starting position back the following season in 2009 and won eight of his ten starts en route to finishing third in the voting for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Things went sour from there, however, and he would again lose his starting job after a mediocre 4-5 start and was eventually released after the 2010 season.
With his playing career now in disarray, Young signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and went 1-2 in three starts. He would sign two more short-term deals with the Buffalo Bills in 2012 and the Green Bay Packers in 2013, but they would end before they began and he was released from both teams before the start of the regular season.
Young’s talents garnered perhaps the most acclaim in college, where he posted eye-popping numbers. He became the starter at Texas as a redshirt sophomore in 2004 and led the Longhorns to an 11-1 finish, a top five final ranking, and the school’s first-ever appearance in the Rose Bowl, defeating Michigan. The following year in 2005, he put together one of the most of the most outstanding seasons of any collegiate quarterback in history, passing for 3,036 yards and 26 touchdowns, while rushing for another 1,050 yards and 12 touchdowns. Young’s performance in the national title game against USC, in which he passed for 267 yards and rushed for 200 en route to MVP honors, is one of the greatest single outings by a quarterback in NCAA history.
Commentary by Rick Sarlat