It’s often said that youth is wasted on the young, a realization that we all ponder at some point in our lives if we are lucky enough to reach an age where the wisdom of that becomes clear.
That ‘young” does not directly refer to Vince Young, but we do know that people mature at different rates and hindsight does reveal that youth was wasted on the former University of Texas star.
From a football perspective, the now 33-year-old Young is hoping a little experience in life helps him return to the NFL and erase what was a disappointing career after arriving as the No. 3 overall pick out of Austin in 2006.
After outdueling Matt Leinart and Southern California in one of the most exciting national championship games in history, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Young was tagged by many as a can’t miss prospect and the future of the Tennessee Titans when the organization made the leap.
The early returns were mixed but Young was developing the reputation as a signal caller who won football games despite the fact the numbers didn’t look all that impressive at times, amassing a 30-17 record as the starter in Nashville.
In a lot of ways, Young was on the ground floor on the changes that were going on from an offensive standpoint in the college game, however. A brilliant athlete, who some pegged as football’s Michael Jordan, but one that was mechanically flawed when arriving in the NFL.
Fast forward over a decade and coaches in the league now realize most of the quarterbacks they inherit from the college game have significant issues when it comes to the fundamentals and teaching is now a part of the gig at the professional level.
When Young arrived, there was a different mentality and signal callers were expected to be farther along than the Houston native.
By the time things derailed with the Titans, Young was essentially already cast as a backup and finished his career up with Philadelphia, where he’s most remembered for labeling the mediocre 2011 club as “the Dream Team.”
He tried to catch on in Buffalo, Green Bay, and Cleveland over the ensuing seasons but never stuck on a roster outside of training camp, seemingly walking away in 2014 and settling back at his alma mater in a public-relations capacity promoting diversity and community engagement.
Set to turn 34 in May, Young wants to give it one last try at professional football and recently hired agent Leigh Steinberg to gauge any interest.
It’s hard to imagine an NFL team seriously looking at Young for a 53-man roster spot but it’s conceivable he could be brought in as an extra arm for OTAs or camp, mainly as a favor to Steinberg or the player himself.
And if this is a glorified fantasy camp for Young as Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” plays in the background, perhaps that’s the end game.
Steinberg, however, has already indicated that the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL have expressed some interest and if Young truly wants to make it back to the NFL as a backup, that’s the route he is going to have to take.
— Leigh Steinberg (@leighsteinberg) February 16, 2017
Moving north of the border would accomplish two things for Young if he’s successful. Namely that he still has some of the vaunted skills that were once awed with the Longhorns but perhaps more importantly prove that he’s very serious about a comeback and this isn’t just a mid-life crisis.
Youth was indeed wasted on Vince Young, and the more experienced version wants to rectify that.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRag Sports.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, CBS Baltimore, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.