Quarterback Vince Young went from Rose Bowl miracle worker and NFL Rookie of the Year to unemployed and showing off his talents at a pre-draft college workout in the span of a tumultuous six years.
We've now come full circle, and Young is hoping to have a future in the NFL once more.
The problem now becomes, does Young have anything to offer the NFL, and has he managed to find a bridge he hasn't burnt?
Young is blazing down the comeback trail, so let's take a moment to reflect on how he got to this point, and then breakdown whether or not he has a future in a league he ever-so-briefly dominated a few years ago.
The Story So Far
Young won over the hearts of football fans by taking Texas to a Rose Bowl victory and was subsequently made the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans.
At Titans fans surely remember, Young led the Titans to six straight victories and an 8-5 record as a starter while racking up 2,199 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air and another 552 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
Then everything spiraled out of control.
The following years in Tennessee saw Young break team rules and battle a variety of injuries. He also had several bouts with depression (per ESPN) and infamously threw his shoulder pads into the stands and got in a verbal spat with head coach Jeff Fisher before being released (per ESPN).
Of course, this subsequently led to him being picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 where he and Michael Vick ran the "Dream Team" into the ground.
Finally, Young was reportedly in financial trouble off the field, but that didn't stop him from taking out a $300,000 loan to throw himself a birthday party, according to ProFootballTalk.
Road to Redemption
Fast forward to 2013 and we appear to have a more level-headed and mature version of Vince. His first move in attempting his NFL comeback (reeking of a PR stunt or not) was to send his former coach Fisher a letter of apology about how he acted and behaved during his time with the Titans.
Young seems sincere in his apology as reported by ESPN:
"I definitely wanted to apologize for the things that I did, letting him know about the frustration, a lot of different things that was going on in my life at the time, and want him to know that I really did appreciate him trying to make me become one of those type of leaders on the team, a successful quarterback," he said.
He said during his time with the Titans he was "immature and not paying attention and not listening, and taking my frustration out on a lot of people wasn't the right thing to do."
"I pray that I'll get an opportunity, but if not, [the pro day workout] was worth the try. I know I can be a big asset to a lot of the teams in the NFL right now. Just to let them know I've been staying on top of my game, just in case that opportunity do come," he said.
The pro day Young is referring to above is his recent workout in front of NFL scouts at Texas' pro day. Head coach Mack Brown and others praised Young for his performance:
Vince had a great day throwing for the scouts today. Major helped coordinate his workout and all went well. twitter.com/UT_MackBrown/s…— Mack Brown (@UT_MackBrown) March 26, 2013
Young then followed up that impressive performance with a workout with the Oakland Raiders, where reports coming from folks such as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport once again praised how he performed:
Interested to hear that Vince Young was among the QBs that worked out for #Raiders yesterday. So did Troy Smith. Heard Vince looked good.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 11, 2013
Working out in shorts is fine, but is it enough to land him back in the NFL in any capacity?
What Young Brings to the Table
At this point in his career, Young is a known commodity. He's a dual-threat quarterback who has never thrown for more than 12 touchdowns in a season, has wonky mechanics and the majority of his career-bests all came in his rookie year.
Yet, Young simply wins games for his team.
Young is 31-19 as a starter over his six-year career despite the mediocre statistics.
At times, Young can be painful to watch. His throwing motion is, and always will be, horrid. Oftentimes, he pulls the ball down too quickly and takes off rather than going through all of his reads.
But that is what also has put Young back on the NFL map. It's not about letters he sends out or appearances in front of scouts or cameras.
It's about what he brings to the table.
The NFL is currently experiencing a read-option spread offense craze. Athletic quarterbacks who can make some throws and beat defenses with their feet are all the rage. Look what Robert Griffin III and a sixth-round rookie running back named Alfred Morris were able to do with the Washington Redskins last season.
Young has already proven he can be an average passer if defenses have to accommodate for his feet. He's more than proven an ability to bully defenses on the ground as a ball-carrier.
At only 29 years old, Young has the skill set some NFL teams wishing to run a read-option will be gravitate toward. Questionable history on and off the field or not, Young has experience at the NFL level and has potentially turned a corner in his life.
Does Young Have a Chance to Revive his NFL Career?
When asking yourself this question, there's really only one thing that needs to be addressed—are there 64 quarterbacks currently in the NFL that bring more to the table than Young?
The only answer is a resounding no.
Look at the state of the NFL at the quarterback position right now. Teams are trading for battered veterans like Carson Palmer, giving over $100 million to guys who have never won a playoff game and reaching for unworthy prospects in the first round of the draft each year.
That's not even mentioning the horrid state of the backup quarterback, which Young could land almost anywhere in the league as.
But when we say revive his career, we want to know if Young can be a starter again.
He sure can.
The team he just worked out with is the perfect example of why Young can start again. Oakland seemingly wants to run a read-option and does not trust Terrelle Pryor given its interest in Young. Why not bring in someone with experience like Young and give it a shot? It sure worked with rookies.
There are other spots Young could land and compete for a starting spot such as Cleveland or Buffalo (yes, that was attempted last year), but Oakland represents his best chance.
Young absolutely has a future in the NFL. In what capacity and how successful is yet to be determined.
Relevant statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.
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