Vince Young is taking his talents to the CFL
The QB is taking a second chance on himself and his career and joining the Saskatchewan Roughriders
Vince Young is coming back to the game. It was 2011, or roughly a lifetime in football years, when Young took his last snap as a professional quarterback. That was for the Philadelphia Eagles after a long stint as the Man in Tennessee. Now Young is coming out of retirement, signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
The onetime absolutely mesmerizing college star hopes to revive a pro career that was actually better than lots of folks probably remember – but not nearly as good as Young believes it should have been. Derailed by financial missteps, bad advice and, admittedly, his own immaturity, Young hopes to rewrite the closing act of his career.
The Roughriders provided no assurances – “Just the opportunity to compete for the job, which is all I want,” Young said. At 33 and coming off a very long layoff, Young knows it won’t be easy to regain the form that made him a two-time Pro Bowler, but he believes in himself and is determined to prove that others can believe in him, too. In his first public comments since signing his two-year deal, Young told The Undefeated about his comeback plans, which include the quarterback trying to trademark the phrase, “MAKE VINCE GREAT AGAIN.”
“The biggest thing is just having the chance to get back into the game. Just to have an opportunity to go back and play football. I wanted to do it. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. But I didn’t know how it would happen. I didn’t know if it could happen. But then I got together with [agent] Leigh [Steinberg], who has been great for me. Leigh got me thinking that this could really happen. Everyone knows that Leigh is great at what he does. Leigh [credited as the inspiration for Tom Cruise’s character in the film Jerry Maguire] did what he does underneath the radar to get the deal done. I did what I had to do to get myself prepared. You have to start moving to get to where you want to be. This is the start.
Man, everyone with the Roughriders has been great. When people call you and tell you they want you, that they think you still have something to offer and they want to give you a chance, that’s a blessing. You have to feel good when people tell you they still have confidence in you. You know there are people out there who don’t look at you like that. Even when I was playing in the NFL, a lot of people didn’t understand that I did OK. I really feel I did OK. I was the rookie of the year. I went to the Pro Bowl a couple of times. That was pretty good. For me, I was proud of what I did in the NFL. I did a pretty good job.
A lot of people don’t remember that. I know why. I understand it. Some things got way out of hand. I can say I made some mistakes. Sometimes I was a little bit immature about some of the things that were going on around me. I didn’t know how to function the right way with a lot of things happening around me. Or you could say I didn’t handle business the right way. I can say that now. But some of that stuff people said about me … that stuff was just people being people. Like the thing about me buying all the tickets on the [Southwest] planes. You want to buy out a plane, you just go get a private jet. Again, man, that’s just people being people and talking. I just try to ignore that type of stuff. I just continue to be who I am.
Did I need to correct some things? Yeah, I had to clean up a lot of mess that my team [of advisers] got me into it. The finger was pointed at me because I chose those guys. That’s on me. I had to grow up a lot on my own. In the business world and the financial world, there was a lot I didn’t know. A lot was going on behind the scenes. I wish I was with Leigh back then. He’s a really smart guy. I could have used his help. I’m happy to say that almost everything is cleaned up now. And I’m a lot more mature now. I’ve definitely grown up.
One of the things I always tell people is that the best decision I ever made was to go to the University of Texas. Everything that UT has helped me with after football, especially making the transition to the business world, has been a blessing. My UT alums … they’ve been teaching me a lot about business and how to become mature, be a real man in your household and to take care of your responsibilities. I’ve been working for the university as well as the Longhorn Network. I’m using my foundation, the Vince Young Foundation, to do a lot of things for at-risk kids in Austin, as well in central Texas. I’ve got my Vince Young Steakhouse [in Austin]. I’m about to launch my real estate company.
I’m happy, man. I’m just enjoying life. I’m married. We’ve been together since high school. I’ve got a 6-year-old running around, driving me crazy. I’m giving back to the community and making the most of all these opportunities I never expected. But I’m not gonna lie: It was hard watching on Sunday when you feel you should still be out there. I’m just excited to tell my son I might be going back to play quarterback again. I want him to have the chance to see me play.
For this opportunity they’re giving me, I’m going to give Saskatchewan everything I have. A lot of guys have gone to Canada and done great. The NFL? I’m not thinking about the NFL. The chance to play for Saskatchewan, which believes in me, that’s where my mind is. And maybe I can be an inspiration to someone else. Maybe someone will look at everything that happened to me, see me now and keep the faith. You never know what’s going to happen. You never know, man. You never know.
One of the greatest players in the illustrious football history of the University of Texas, Young led the Longhorns to the 2005 national championship. As a college starter, Young had a 30-2 record. The Tennessee Titans picked the dual-threat passer in the first round (third overall) of the 2006 draft. Young was selected the 2006 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, the 2009 Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year and was a two-time Pro Bowler. In six seasons as a pro, Young went 31-19.