Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vince Young

I read yesterday that Vince Young is broke.

If you watched the 2006 Rose Bowl game you would have trouble believing this.  I watched the 2006 Rose Bowl game with my dad and we agreed that it was one of the better college football games ever played.  Texas played USC and prevailed 41-38, with the quarterback for Texas, Young, and the quarterback for USC Matt Leinart, putting on a stunning show.

As good as Leinart was--and he was magnificent--Young was better. He could run, pass, and make intelligent decisions.  At certain points in the game I wondered if anyone could tackle this guy and marveled at how, while running, he could pass the ball precisely to the only spot that would allow his receiver to catch the ball.

Young signed a professional contract with a guaranteed signing bonus exceeding by millions and millions what I will earn in my entire lifetime.

Now it is gone.  Vince Young--still a relatively young man--is out of a job.  He was cut by the Buffalo Bills where he was hoping to catch on as a back up to Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick.

How does someone with so much talent, lose it in such a quick period of time? How does someone with so much money lose it in such a short span?

When he played for the Tennessee Titans in his rookie year, Vince Young seemed to be everything that the scouts expected.  Then a year or two down the road he got into a public disagreement with his head coach.  After that he became the backup for the Philadelphia Eagles. Because of injuries to the starter, Young had an opportunity to play for the Eagles, a team that had an offense geared to Young's skills.  Did not work. He goes to Buffalo this year and does not make it out of training camp.

Sadly, this is not such an uncommon story.  Ryan Leaf another college quarterback heralded as the next great hero, seemed to self destruct in a matter of months not only in terms of talent, but because of off the field stupidity that was beyond what we normally define as very stupid.

There is a recurring lesson here for those who aspire to be sports heroes--and are successful in that endeavor.  Don't let the cheers go to your head.  In Circle, Harry Chapin croons,

I've sung my songs to silence
To empty clubs and crowded bars
I've sung my songs to standing room
Even sung 'em to the stars
But the faces they fade together
And the applause it's gone so fast
And the story of every darkened stage
Is that the glory just does not last

It doesn't. The only thing that lasts is true love. That does not go away, but talent, adulation from the masses, money--all that can go away and if you are not ready, the crash from such a tumble can be devastating.  Good luck to Vince Young as he tries to regroup.

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