In one of the stranger football journeys of modern times, Vince Young is returning to the game, signing a one-year contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
Young, who washed out of the NFL after five seasons with Tennessee and one with Philadelphia, last played in the league in 2011. Now 33, he has been working for the University of Texas, in fundraising, diversity and broadcasting roles. Young led the Longhorns to the national title in 2005, but never achieved that level of success in the NFL.
“I still definitely love the the game,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “I miss it a whole lot. The retirement deal, it happened. I didn’t officially say I was retired. I got away from the game to clean up a bunch of stuff off the field. All that came to light and I’m doing really good.
“The Roughriders coach, Chris Jones, gave me a call and wanted to give me an opportunity. I thought it was a great chance for me to finish my career how I want to finish it. I reached out to Leigh [Steinberg, the agent]. He’s an incredible guy. He understands the second-chance story and we got this thing done. I’m so excited to play the game again. Everything is going full circle.”
Young’s NFL career was plagued by immature decisions. He quarreled openly with Jeff Fisher, then the Titans coach, and pleaded no contest earlier this year to a January 2016 charge of driving while intoxicated. He was fined $300 and ordered to complete 60 hours of community service.
“I’ve got a family now, I’ve got kids,” Young said. “I wish I knew back then what I know now. I was a little immature about things, but things happen for a reason. You learn from your mistakes. I’m happy and I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
Young, who was the third overall pick by the Titans in the 2006 NFL draft, passed for 8,964 yards and 46 touchdowns with 51 interceptions and a 74.4 career passer rating. In the CFL, he’ll have to adjust to a larger playing field and to having 12 players and three downs.
“I feel like I’m in shape, but I’m not in my playing shape yet,” Young said. “I’ve been doing a lot of throwing with guys who are training for or are in the NFL. I’m doing pretty much what a rookie quarterback is doing heading into the draft. I’m doing a lot of throwing and film work.”