Vince Young Watch: The More We Learn, the Worse Things Sound

Jeremy ScottAnalyst ISeptember 10, 2008

Day Three of Vince-gate. 

The more we learn about Vince Young and his current behavior and state of mind, the worse things begin to sound. 

Last night, Nashville sports radio host and former Titan Frank Wycheck went on a nationally broadcasted ESPN show and said that Young not only doesn't have thick skin...he has onion skin. 

Ouch. Wycheck knows the Titans coaches, players, and organization intimately, and his opinion should not be brushed off lightly—though it is merely an opinion.

This morning's Tennessean (Nashville's newspaper) sees David Climer, the senior sportswriter, publishing an editorial piece suggesting Vince needs a time out from football.

Now national media outlets are running with the story of the interview Vince's mother gave yesterday. Here's just a brief bit of what she had to say:

Felicia Young said her son has grown weary of all the negativity he faces as an NFL star. On Monday, he indicated to those around him he didn't want to play football anymore.

"Vince has gone through a whole lot as a young person,'' Felicia Young said. "And I think he has done pretty well up to this point. But it is hard, all he is going through right now. He's hurting inside and out.

"But he will be fine if people are prayerful and help my baby boy out. He is a young man. He just needs a lot of love and support.''

"What would you think, if you were tired of being ridiculed and persecuted and talked about and not being treated very well, what would you do? What kind of decision would you make?''

What?! I'll tell you what decision I would make if I were "tired of being ridiculed and persecuted and talked about"...I would go back in time and not make the decision to become an NFL quarterback in the first place. Period.

Vince is now indicating a desire to quit football altogether for the second time in his three-year career? That's not a good sign, and makes me wonder what he thought the NFL was when he went out for the draft.

Also, it's tough to take his mother's comments without wanting to point out that being a coddled hero at Texas is hardly a tough life to have led up until now. And while "love and support" may indeed be the recipe for depression in general, it's tough to expect the fans to swallow that logic when we're talking about a millionaire superstar. 

I guess what's troubling me the most this morning is the idea that he's so depressed and upset just after the team won a big game against a division rival. Sure, Vince himself had a tough game. But the team played well.

The rookie running back ran like the wind, the defense was stifling, and they won the freaking game. But the fact that Vince himself played poorly and got booed is all Vince can think about, and it's driving him to depression and making him consider quitting?! That's ridiculously selfish. 

It's beginning to seem like how he feels about himself is more important than how well the team does. Because they won the game. They won the freaking game. And instead of that win...we're talking about Young's fragile ego.

This is not much ado about nothing. Let me give you the timeline of the story for the past few days:

  • Vince leaves the field after throwing his second interception, gets booed, promptly pouts on the sideline, pushing away his teammates who are trying to console him.
  • Vince doesn't want to go back in the game for the next series, coach Fisher is seen yelling at him and pushing him toward the field.
  • Vince gets injured and leaves the game, pouting continues.
  • Vince ignores MRI test Monday, choosing to stay at home instead of keeping his appointment. Fisher drives out to the Young house and has a heart-to-heart. Then they go get the MRI.
  • Vince meets with team psychiatrist, who tells the team she thinks he's depressed and she's concerned about his well-being.
  • Vince goes missing. Leaves cell phone behind. Friends and family consider this the apocalypse and call the Titans. Titans agree that the end of the world is near, call the police. Vince is found at a friend's house eating chicken wings, is taken to Titans headquarters for an after-midnight meeting with Fisher. 
  • Vince apparently contemplates quitting...again.
  • Vince's mom gives interview asking the fans to love and support her son, that he's having a difficult time. 
  • Titans sign free agent Chris Simms.

I don't want to make light of Vince's issues. I really don't. Clinical depression is a real thing that I have seen destroy people and relationships. I have no idea if Vince is clinically depressed and in need of care or if he's just a little bit of a spoiled rich athlete. 

But either way, I have to agree with Climer from the Tennessean: take a break. Step away. Maybe don't even decide if you're going to come back or not. 

Vince is clearly in no shape to lead this team and deal with the stress of being in the spotlight. I don't want to be the guy that writes a new "Vince Young Controversy" article every day...I really don't. But this story isn't going away. It's getting bigger every day. It's national headline news. 

If Young has a medical issue, then let's get him away from the game and get him help. If he doesn't...then he's just whining...and we should get the game away from him and let him go live in peace.