To say Vince Young flamed out in the NFL is sort of an understatement. Okay, it’s a bona fide understatement.
After being selected in the first round by the Titans in 2006, Young achieved only very marginal success. He played well enough to grace the cover of Madden 08 and then rapidly declined from there. In 2011, the Eagles brought him on as a backup quarterback where his most notable achievement was coining the Eagles a ‘dream team’ right before they had a miserable season. Buffalo picked him up shortly thereafter but dropped him as quickly as he had been added.
Then it came out last year that Vince Young, who earned an estimated $26 million over the course of his stunted career, had filed for bankruptcy.
Effectively, he had hit rock bottom.
So what did he do? Did he shack up with JaMarcus Russell living out the rest of his days in a purple drank haze? Did he just disappear for good like he had temporarily in 2008? No, he went back to school.
In fact, yesterday morning Vince Young walked across a stage in Austin as a new graduate of the University of Texas, where he had played football.
See, if you recall, Young forewent his senior year to enter the NFL early, so he never got his degree the first time around. And with his football career seemingly over, he went back to take care of the one piece of unfinished business he left.
No scholarship. No Saturday game day glory. No BCS Title. Vince Young was just another one of Texas’ 52,000-plus students. A 6’5″ face in the crowd.
And while his new bachelor’s degree won’t earn him a Pepsi endorsement deal any time soon, in many ways, Young’s journey makes him a better role model for young boys (and girls, for that matter) than he ever could have been in the NFL.
Say for just a moment that Young lived up to the hype that once surrounded him as the third overall pick in an NFL Draft. Say he even SURPASSED expectations. Vince Young is the hero of the NFL and a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. All any of that would show future generations is how to make the most of an immense amount of god-given talent.
Young’s REAL story is far better. What do you do after you make mistakes? BIG mistakes? What do you do when you not only hit a bump in the road but you’re thrown down an embankment.
Vince Young’s saga doesn’t show adults-to-be how to take a hit and keep going, it shows them how to get off the mat once a series of haymakers have put you there.
When I have kids, they’re probably never going to have a Vince Young jersey. Hell, barring my fantasy of fantasies where they become diehard football fans, they’ll probably never know who he was. That is, until I tell them about him.
Because, as Young reminded us this week, you’re never too young or too old to learn a thing or two.
NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure to give him a follow @bclienesch for NFL updates and other shenanigans!