Remember the January 4, 2006 BCS championship game when the Texas Longhorns shocked the mighty USC Trojans, winning the game 41–38? Remember the great Vince Young solidifying his legend, taking over a BCS championship game like no one before or since? Remember how he completed 30 of 40 passes for 267 yards and carried the ball 19 times for 200 more yards?
Remember how the mighty Vince Young refused to lose?
I remember the Vince Young that gave the Longhorns their first national championship since 1970. I remember the Vince Young that was picked third overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL Draft.
That Vince Young has failed to achieve anything close to that level of glory in the NFL. In fact, as Young enters his seventh season in the NFL, he has gone from the hopeful savior of a franchise to journeyman quarterback looking for a place to land.
The Tennessee Titans cut ties with him before the 2011–12 season. The Philadelphia Eagles signed him to back up Michael Vick last season. They gave him just a one-year contract and did not invite him back for the coming season.
Now, according to the Dallas Morning News, Young is auditioning to be the consolation prize for the Buffalo Bills. Since they did not land a quarterback in the draft, they are taking a look at Young—not as a starter, but a backup to starter Ryan Fitzgerald.
Young is in possession of the kind of physical tools that may yet allow him to carve out his niche—or even make his mark—in the NFL. But for now, he is a man with no team and little hope of landing a starting job in the upcoming NFL season.
For those of us who revelled in the glories of Young’s past, who cheered him on to improbable victory after victory, who watched him rise to become one of the greatest players in Big 12 history, it is sad to see how far the mighty has fallen. It is hard to see him vulnerable and expendable. We remember when he was neither.
We had hoped that he might remain invincible and might have stayed forever young.