What Ever Happened To These Forgotten NFL Quarterback BUSTS?

Everyone loves a winner.  The road from top NFL draft pick to super-stardom is lined with the guys that didn’t make it. Everyone loves the underdog.  But nobody loves

the “bust”.  Here, in no particular order, are the top 10+ NFL QB busts of all time. 

Ryan Leaf

Perhaps best known for being the biggest bust in NFL history, Ryan Leaf had a successful three-year career at Washington State before declaring for the draft. He and Tennessee product Peyton Manning were hotly debated as the top-two picks, with Leaf ultimately going to San Diego second. His time with the Chargers got off to a poor start — a $10,000 fine for missing a rookie symposium — and went downhill from there. His poor play, worse attitude and injuries saw him abruptly retire at 26, after two putrid seasons in San Diego, a failed comeback with the Cowboys and a last-ditch effort with the Seahawks.

Ryan Leaf

Leaf’s legal troubles began a few years later in 2009, with an indictment on burglary and controlled-substance charges, an ordeal that ended with him getting 10 years of probation in addition to a $20,000 fine. In a five-day span in 2012, he was arrested twice for burglary, theft and drug charges which ultimately landed him in jail. He was released in 2014.

Since his playing days ended, Leaf has been a college football coach, business development manager, broadcaster and, as of 2018, an ambassador for a sober community.

Pat White

White had perhaps one of the shortest tenures for a quarterback drafted that high with no off the field issues. White being an experimental quarterback was no secret as he came into the 2009 draft. He possessed none of the attributes teams look for in a prototypical quarterback by being undersized and often having bouts of inaccuracy. Despite those factors, the Dolphins seemed to pull the plug on him sooner than normal for one drafted in the second round.

Pat White – Financial Representative

Project players always take multiple years to develop and there was enough intrigue in White’s abilities along with the Dolphins’ obsession with the Wildcat offense to warrant more of an investment. Regardless, the Dolphins saw what they needed to see. His departure from Miami was the beginning of White bouncing from the United Football League and the CFL until his retirement from professional ball in 2015. White now works as a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual in Clarksburg.

Sam Bradford – QB, Arizona Cardinals

Sam Bradford is the bust that just keeps on giving. In terms of ability alone, Bradford would hardly be considered a bust while posting an 85.1 QB rating (101 touchdowns and 57 interceptions) so far in his career. It’s been his injury-prone nature that allowed him to land on this list. Despite having a porous track record in terms of health, he has managed to repeatedly incur enough interest for teams to continue signing his services.

Originally thought to be the future of the Rams, Bradford has only managed to produce bits of false hope for each team that had acquired his services.

Sam Bradford

That hope from great performances quickly faded as his body succumbed to further injury. His inability to stay healthy has forced all the teams he has been on to replace him with either a top rookie or a pro bowl signal caller.

After his latest injury-plagued year, Bradford has found a home as the Cardinals’ starter barring the inevitable injury he will incur.

Blaine Gabbert

Looking back at the 2011 Draft class, one has to scratch his head when remembering there was a time Gabbert was in contention for the number one pick over Cam Newton. Before it became apparent that Gabbert was best utilized as a backup in the league, his physical talents had him being labeled as an ideal prototypical quarterback. The main knock on Gabbert was how well he would be able to transition from the spread style offense to a pro-style game. Those concerns turned out to be evident as he heavily struggled with handling pocket pressure during his rookie year. With Gabbert under center, the Jaguars limped to a 5-22 record while throwing 22 touchdowns to 24 interceptions.

Three years into his tenure with the Jaguars, Gabbert was traded to the 49ners where he found limited success at times from 2014-2016 and has since signed with Tennessee Titans as the backup.

Brock Osweiler – Backup QB (Miami Dolphins)

It took him some time to get here, but after a few years in Denver prepping to be Peyton Manning’s successor Osweiler landed in the bust territory after a horrific year as the Texans quarterback. Osweiler’s fall was stranger than most as he showed little signs of being a bust during his time in Denver. Emulating the same strategy that Packers had with Aaron Rodgers, the Broncos allowed for Osweiler to sit on the bench for over three years.

During that time, he soaked in as much as he could from the future Hall of Fame player and it seemed to pay off. The rapid decline in Manning’s play prompted the Broncos to insert Osweiler in the lineup to rejuvenate the offense. That decision worked out as Osweiler went 5-2 as the starter.

The sudden benching of Osweiler in favor of Manning caused a rift prompting him to not resign with the Broncos in the 2016 season but instead with the Texans. His time with the Texans was a disaster, to say the least. Despite signing him to a four-deal worth $72 million, Osweiler was traded away to the Browns after one year of horrendous play. After being cut from the Browns, Osweiler returned to the Broncos once more in a backup role.

Now: Brock Osweiler

After yet another disappointing season, Osweiler signed on with the Miami Dolphins for 2018, in what is surely his last shot as an NFL QB. Osweiler married Erin Costales in February 2015. They had their first child, a daughter, Blake Everly, on April 9, 2017

Brandon Weeden – Backup QB (Houston Texans)

Sadly, with age does not always come wisdom in the world of professional athletes. None exude this as well as Brandon Weeden. Among the long list of failed quarterback experiments in Cleveland, Weeden has a special spot as one of the oldest busts to come out of the NFL Draft ever back in 2012. At the age of 28, a time where many starters had at least five years of experience under their belt, his best-case scenario would be immediately adapting to the NFL so he could have a good career well into his thirties. Like many rookies, immediate success was not in the cards for him.

Weeden struggled to showcase the aptitude to work through progressions at a professional level despite the physical talent he possessed.

Brandon Weeden

After only two years with the Browns, he was released and has spent the rest of his NFL career as a backup to various teams. In March 2018, he signed with the Texans again as a backup for Deshaun Watson.

Geno Smith

Geno Smith consistently finds himself in the headlines for stories that have little to do with his poor play on the field. From thinking the Earth is flat (sadly this has become a thing), to being punched in the jaw by teammates and unintentionally being the villain behind Eli Manning’s ridiculous benching in 2017, conversations regarding Smith focus little on his status as a bust. While one could attest that a second-round quarterback couldn’t be considered a bust, it is more about the player’s colligate history and the team’s motivation behind drafting him.

In Smith’s case, a vibrant career at West Virginia alongside the Jet’s need for a quarterback change when they drafted him placed high expectation on Smith as a rookie. Those expectations quickly evaporated as Smith failed to display consistency at the position and was benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick during his third year on the Jets.

Now: Geno Smith

Despite the up and down play of Fitzpatrick, Smith remained the backup until an ACL injury forced his release from the Jets in 2017 and then signed with the Giants. On April 1, 2018, Smith reached a one-year deal with the Chargers as their backup.

Robert Griffin III

In hindsight, the 2012 draft just did not work out well for the Redskins between drafting Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III (RGIII). It started out well at first with RGIII being named rookie of the year. Under those accolades, it looked like their decision to trade three first-round picks for Griffin was a sound decision. Then the rest of his career happened.

Injuries just seemed to follow RGIII as he failed to play through a full 16 game season even once.

Coupled alongside those myriads of injuries, the good play of Kirk Cousins all but closed the door on RGIII’s days in Washington in 2016.

Now: Robert Griffin III

Following his release from the Redskins, RGIII signed with the Browns as their starter but once more suffered through injuries which caused his release after the season. With the fear of injuries staining his name, RGIII remained unsigned throughout 2017. He recently returned to the NFL and signed with the Ravens in 2018-2019 as the backup to Joe Flacco.

Johnny Manziel – Playing In The Spring League

If there was any year that the Browns proved to the NFL world that whatever decision they make just seems to fail, then it was the 2014 Draft. Despite possessing two first-round picks once again, the Browns failed to procure solid talent as they ended up with defensive back Justin Gilbert (currently serving a suspension) and the roller coaster experience of Johnny Football.

Despite his electric collegiate career and some flashes of success at the pro level, his tenure with the Browns was overshadowed by one off the field issue after another.

Now: Johnny Manziel

Recurring injuries and late-night escapades highlighted Manziel’s time with the Browns thus prompting his release in 2016.

Since his release, Manziel has tried out for several teams but none have offered him a deal. In 2018, Manziel has played several games in The Spring League, a developmental scouting event for players to showcase their talents. His intent remains to one day return to the NFL now that he has matured and put his partying lifestyle behind him.

On March 16, 2019, Manziel signed an agreement to join the Alliance of American Football. The next week, in a March 30 game against the Orlando Apollos, Manziel was removed from the game due to suffering a concussion in an attempt to make a tackle after throwing an interception. Three days later, the AAF suspended football operations, ending the 2019 season. He is currently a free agent.

Brady Quinn

Highly touted coming out of college, Quinn was considered a top prospect during his time at Notre Dame. Expected to be a terrific pro player, Quinn’s career didn’t end up like many originally envisioned. In 20 career starts, Quinn won just four games. After being drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Quinn made his last ever appearance in 2012.

Now: Brady Quinn

While the former Brown, Bronco, Chief, Jet and Ram didn’t make it on the gridiron, Quinn has enjoyed a nice run off the field. Quinn is married to Alicia Sacramone — an Olympic silver medalist in gymnastics. The former two-time All-American quarterback has found a second career in the commentary booth working for FOX Sports as both a college football and NFL game analyst.

Trent Richardson, RB, Browns No. 3/2012

Richardson was viewed as a stable, durable three-down back coming from Nick Saban’s Alabama squad. He showed promise during his rookie season, but was traded to Indianapolis in 2013 and never really found his footing thereafter, bouncing through Oakland and Baltimore. He showed flashes of brilliance in a CFL stint, though legal problems prevented him from sticking in the league long-term.

Now: Trent Richardson

In 2019, he joined the fledgling AAF, playing a key role for the Birmingham Iron, though the league’s early demise cut off the 29-year-old’s momentum toward an NFL comeback.

David Garrard

During a low point for the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise, Garrard provided stability and leadership. Although the team didn’t enjoy much success in terms of postseason appearances (39-37 career record), Garrard’s play ensured the Jaguars weren’t a complete laughing stock. Garrard is perhaps best known for delivering a dramatic Hail Mary pass to Mike Thomas to defeat the Houston Texans on the final play of a game in 2010.

Now: David Garrard

Garrard’s time in Jacksonville was numbered as soon as the Jaguars used a top-10 selection on eventual quarterback bust Blaine Gabbert. Garrard made stops with the Dolphins and Jets before ultimately retiring in 2013. Since walking away from football, Garrard has become an active voice in the fight against Crohn’s disease. Garrard suffers from Crohn’s disease and frequently speaks at major functions in hopes of advancing research and building awareness.

Joey Harrington

Few players enjoyed a more illustrious collegiate career than former Oregon hurler Harrington. After finishing as a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2001, the Lions made Harrington the third overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Detroit immediately regretted its decision. Harrington threw for 3,000-plus yards just once, and ended his career with more career interceptions (85) than touchdowns (79).

Now: Joey Harrington

Harrington would last four years in Detroit before making one-year pit stops in Miami, Atlanta, and New Orleans. Following his NFL career, Harrington began working for Fox Sports Radio as an NFL and college commentator.

In July of 2011, Harrington was struck by a car while riding a bicycle. Harrington suffered a punctured lung, a broken collarbone, and fractured two of his ribs. Fortunately, he survived.

Charles Rogers, WR, Lions No. 2/2003

Rogers broke numerous Michigan State and NCAA records before capitalizing on a junior-year catch in which he leaped two Notre Dame defenders to score a sensational touchdown in 2002. Broken clavicles in each of his first two seasons sent him down a path to drug addiction that ultimately ended his NFL career after three seasons, despite the highly touted package of hands, speed and size that garnered him all the attention.

Now: Charles Rogers

As of 2017, the former pass-catcher was working at an auto repair shop in Fort Myers, Florida.

Marc Bulger

Replacing a Hall of Famer is no easy task, but Bulger appeared ready for the spotlight when he took over as the Rams’ starting quarterback when Kurt Warner left for New York. Bulger hit the ground running, winning 18 of his first 21 starts. After his second year, the Rams would re-sign the former backup to a lucrative deal that made him — at the time — the highest-paid player in franchise history. However, teams began to figure out the former Mountaineer, as Bulger would endure a 23-50 record for the remainder of his career.

Now: Marc Bulger

Although Bulger never lived up to his lofty expectations, he enjoyed a eight-year career in the NFL and is highly respected amongst his peers. Bulger has since moved to Missouri where he lives on a farm with his wife. During his off time, Bulger picked up curling and participated in the 2018 Curl Mesabi Classic which is a featured event on the World Curling Tour.

Tim Tebow

Arguably the most decorated player in the history of college football, Tebow was a phenom while at the University of Florida. The dual threat led the Gators to two National Championship wins. In 2007, Tebow became the first ever sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy (Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Alabama’s Mark Ingram Jr., and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson have since accomplished the same feat). Despite obvious flaws in his throwing mechanics, Tebow was selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and instantly endeared himself within the fanbase.

Now: Tim Tebow

Tebow’s shining moment as an NFL quarterback would come in the 2012 NFL Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Enthralled in a brutal overtime battle, Tebow threw the game-winning strike to Demaryius Thomas for a walk-off victory.

Eventually, teams figured out the one-dimensional QB and Tebow promptly flamed out of the league. The charismatic Tebow dabbled in broadcasting for a short time, and made some appearances as a public speaker. In 2016, Tebow made the jump to a different sport, debuting for the New York Mets minor league baseball team. He hopes to one day make the Mets’ major league roster — though he has a long way to go.

Tim Couch

In terms of well-known busts, Couch is a player often mentioned among the all-time gaffes. Following a Heisman Trophy finalist campaign at Kentucky in 1999, the lowly Cleveland Browns selected Couch with the first overall pick in the draft. Couch had all the makings of a franchise QB given his immense arm strength and winning pedigree. The Browns would quickly find out it takes more than that to become an elite quarterback in the NFL.

Now: Tim Couch

Couch would last just five seasons in the pros as he suffered from poor offensive line play, a lack of receiving depth, and a bevy of injuries. Although many consider him a top bust, some may argue he never received a fair shake in the league. Couch has since joined the announcing booth, commentating SEC games for Fox Sports South.

Daunte Culpepper

Make no mistake, Culpepper was a supreme talent. Along with all-time great receiver Randy Moss, Culpepper and the Vikings lit the league on fire during the quarterback’s first years as a starter. Culpepper had seasons of 33 and 39 touchdown passes, and even led the league in passing yards in 2004 with 4,717. Things began to go down hill for Culpepper once he split away from the Vikings, as he failed to put together successful seasons with the Dolphins, Raiders, and Lions. Culpepper lost his last ten games as a pro, and sported an abysmal 20-to-32 touchdown-to-interception ratio over his last 32 starts.

Now: Daunte Culpepper

Injuries took a massive toll on the strong-armed QB. Over his last five years in the league, Culpepper made just 31 out of a possible 80 starts. After flaming out of the NFL, Culpepper gave football one last chance when he signed a modest deal with Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.

JaMarcus Russell

Expectations were sky-high for Russell when the Oakland Raiders selected him first overall in 2007. Scouts lauded his pre-draft workouts, as Russell’s arm strength and size were put on full display. As it turns out, Russell wasn’t ready to lead a franchise — not even close. The Raiders gave him a six-year contract worth up the $68 million, with $31.5 million guaranteed. His work ethic, fitness and inconsistency doomed him career, which lasted just 31 career games and ended after three seasons in 2009..

Now: JaMarcus Russell

Russell lasted just three years in the league — making 25 total starts. He ended his career with more interceptions (23) than touchdowns (18), and completed just 52 percent of his passes. His utter lack of competent decision-making coupled with his unwillingness to improve his conditioning ultimately led to his supreme downfall. Some of the names the Raiders could have drafted instead of Russell include Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, and Darrelle Revis.

Since retiring, Russell has attempted multiple comebacks, but to no avail. He was arrested in 2010 for drug possession. Russell now works at his alma mater, Williamson High School, as a quarterbacks coach. In 2016, he reportedly wrote letters to all 32 NFL teams offering to play a season for free, but found no takers.

Josh Freeman

The Buccaneers thought they had struck gold when they selected Freeman with the 17th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. The Kansas State Wildcat showed glimpses of elite talent early in his career as he improved in each of his first four seasons in the league. In 2012, Freeman was the unquestioned starter, and was coming off a 4,000-yard, 27-touchdown season. Forming a duo with emerging running back Doug Martin, Tampa’s backfield was expected to lead the Bucs to multiple playoff appearances.

Now: Josh Freeman

Everything came crashing down early in the 2013 season. After a couple of miserable performances, Freeman was benched for a rookie named Mike Glennon and never recaptured his starting role. Freeman would play for several other teams after being released by the Buccaneers — including stops in the FXFL, the USFL and the CFL.

Vince Young, QB, Titans No. 3/2006

Young was an electric presence at the University of Texas, sparring with soon-to-be fellow NFL flame-out Matt Leinart. His performance in the 2006 Rose Bowl earned him plenty of pre-draft hype, even with concerns about his unorthodox throwing style and a low score on the Wonderlic test. Instead of being the unique combination of passing and running the Titans hoped for, Young never quite live up to his high ceiling, dealing with injuries and sparring with coach Jeff Fisher.

Now: Vince Young

By 2014, Young was out of pro football, gaining some notoriety for having gone bankrupt, despite a four-year, $25 million contract. In March, he was fired as a development officer at Texas for poor job performance.

Jake Locker

Several eyebrows were raised when the Tennessee Titans selected Washington QB Jake Locker with the eight overall pick in the 2011 draft. Although Locker possessed plenty of talent, he struggled with accuracy and many questioned if the physicality of his game would translate to the next level. All concerns over Locker’s potential as a starting QB were realized in short order.

Now: Jake Locker

Locker was benched in Year 4 in favor of rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger. After a shoulder injury placed him on the injured reserve in 2014, Locker decided it was time to call it quits and retired from professional football. Locker now lives his days in Ferndale, Washington with his three children. He has no regrets about retiring early, but has stayed close to the game of football. He works as a quarterbacks coach for the Ferndale High Golden Eagles. Currently, Locker is a co-owner of the gym, Locker Room Fitness.

Byron Leftwich

Leftwich was a legend at Marshall. Every college football fan remembers the 6-foot-5 quarterback suffering a broken shin bone and being carried by his teammates downfield during a memorable 17-point comeback against Akron. In dire need of a top quarterback, the Jaguars picked Leftwich seventh overall in 2003. Gifted with a cannon for an arm, the barrel-chested Leftwich exhibited the eye-popping talent of a franchise cornerstone.

Now: Byron Leftwich

Unfortunately, Leftwich’s greatest strength ended up being a curse. His burly frame led to several soft-tissue injuries, as Leftwich never played a full 16-game season in his career. Following his NFL career, Leftwich found a second-wind as a coach. After interning on Bruce Arians’ staff in Arizona, Leftwich was hired full-time as the QB coach for the Cardinals in 2017. In 2019, he rejoined Arians’ staff and was hired as offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kyle Orton

Orton was a lifetime backup during his NFL tenure. No team wanted to fully commit to Orton as a full-time starter, but teams valued his ability to step-in at a moment’s notice. Orton’s best run as a starter came with the Chicago Bears when starting QB Rex Grossman went down with an injury. Orton enjoyed a 10-year career and holds a respectable 42-40 record as a starter.

Now: Kyle Orton

After hinting at a possible retirement several times, Orton finally called it quits for good in 2014. Instead of holding a big press conference or hosting a big party, Orton quietly gathered his things in his locker room, said goodbye to a few teammates, and walked off into the sunset. He and his wife have since moved to Baton Rouge, and Orton uses his experiences in the NFL to mentor youth football players at every level.

Jason Campbell

The once-proud Washington Redskins have fallen on dark times for the past two decades. After three Super Bowl victories from 1982-1991, the Redskins have failed to perform in the postseason. Since then, the Redskins have just three double-digit winning seasons, and haven’t advanced past the Wild Card round since 2005. Much of Washington’s shortcomings have come from shoddy quarterback play. While Campbell wasn’t the worst signal caller to enter Washington’s system, he certainly didn’t reinvigorate the franchise.

Now: Jason Campbell

Following nine years in the league, Campbell decided to retire in 2014 while playing for his fifth NFL team. Since retiring, Campbell has moved to Atlanta and works as a quarterbacks coach for a local high school football team. Washington expected much more out of the former first-round pick.

Jeff Garcia

Among the quarterbacks featured on this list, Garcia may boast the most impressive resume as an NFL starter. In 12 seasons in the league, Garcia made four Pro Bowls and boasts a highly-respectable 87.5 career passer rating. During his last year in the league, Garcia was elected a Pro Bowler and led the Buccaneers to a postseason berth. The following year, Garcia was injured in the season opener, and never fully recovered as he spent the rest of his days in the league serving primarily as a backup.

Now: Jeff Garcia

Even though he couldn’t compete at the highest level anymore, Garcia stuck around football for several years. He joined the advisory board of the United States Football League, and was hired as a consultant for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. In 2007, Garcia married the 2004 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Carmella DeCesare. The couple have four children together.

Christian Ponder

First round draft picks are precious in the NFL. The amount of investment — both money and time — a team puts into their first round picks far exceeds any other player on the roster. Needless to say, it’s less than ideal when a former first round pick lasts just four years in the NFL. Former Florida State QB Christian Ponder did just that. After being drafted in 2011, Ponder played his last NFL game for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He had made just 36 starts in his career, tallying 1,057 passing yards with a mediocre 75.9 passer rating.

Now: Christian Ponder

Ponder’s wife, Samantha Steele, has enjoyed far more success in the realm of sports than her husband. Steele works as a reporter for ESPN and hosts the highly-popular show Sunday NFL Countdown.

David Carr

Carr entered the league under a vast microscope. The newly-expanded Houston Texans made Carr their first ever rookie draft pick when they selected him first overall in the 2002 NFL Draft. Carr entered a tumultuous situation. The Texans were ill-equipped to protect Carr. In 76 career games with Houston, Carr was sacked a ludicrous 249 times — a near 50-sack average per season. Those early years were enough to derail Carr’s once-promising career, as he made quick stops in Carolina, New York, and San Francisco before calling it quits in 2012.

Now: David Carr

Carr dabbled in the coaching field for a moment, but nothing really panned out for the former QB. Luckily for Carr, he has found a new career as a quality broadcaster on the NFL Network. David’s brother, Derek, is currently the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.

Jared Lorenzen

Lorenzen was an absolute joy to watch during his time at the University of Kentucky. Known for his rocket arm and portly figure, Lorenzen earned the nickname “Hefty Lefty” in his playing career. Lorenzen threw for over 10,000 yards at Kentucky but went undrafted in 2004 due to concerns over his conditioning. He would end up throwing for only 28 yards in the NFL, though he did secure a Super Bowl ring as a member of the 2008 New York Giants team that ended the New England Patriots’ perfect season.

Now: Jared Lorenzen

While Lorenzen didn’t get much run in the NFL, he shined in other leagues. He finally ended his football dream following a broken fibula in 2013, and became both a podcaster and a public speaker.

In 2017, Lorenzen launched a “The Jared Lorenzen Project” which chronicled his battle with obesity. ESPN documented his journey as Lorenzen lost over 100 pounds during the process.

Unfortunately, Lorenzen passed away on July 3 of 2019 from an infection which was complicated by lingering heart and kidney problems.

Drew Bledsoe

The Patriots were completely valid in selecting Bledsoe first overall in the 1993 NFL Draft. The Washington State product was a very good quarterback for the better part of his career — making four Pro Bowl squads and throwing for 44,611 yards in 14 seasons. Unfortunately for Bledsoe, the injury bug always seemed to hit him at the most inopportune times. In 2001, Bledsoe went down with a leg injury in the second game of the season. He was replaced by a guy named Tom Brady. Bledsoe never earned his starting job again.

Now: Drew Bledsoe

Bledsoe had a couple of solid years playing for the Buffalo Bills following his ousting from New England. He did earn a Super Bowl ring for his part with the Patriots in 2001 but could never re-establish himself as a top-flight QB in the league. Bledsoe has since entered the wine business and helped co-found the Doubleback Winery. He also serves as an offensive coordinator for Summit High School in Bend, Oregon.

Doug Flutie

Few players epitomized ‘grit’ and ‘toughness’ more than the diminutive Flutie. Standing at just 5-foot-10, Flutie lacked the ideal size of an NFL quarterback. His strong play at Boston College earned him the 1984 Heisman Trophy and ultimately led him to being drafted in the 11th round of the 1985 NFL Draft. Instead of battling for a backup role in the NFL, Flutie chose a different route and signed with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL for a then-lucrative five-year/$7 million deal.

Now: Doug Flutie

The USFL folded just two years into Flutie’s career, but he quickly landed with the BC Lions of the CFL. Flutie would wind up winning the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award six times, and led the Lions to three Grey Cup victories (the CFL’s equivalent to the Super Bowl). In 1998, Flutie made his long-awaited return to the NFL and became an instant star. Flutie won the Comeback Player of the Year award that season and was elected to the Pro Bowl.

He hung up his cleats in 2005 and now plays the drums in a band alongside his brother, Darren. In 2016, Flutie was featured on Season 22 of the hit ABC program Dancing with the Stars. He and his partner finished in ninth place.

Brad Johnson

Johnson was a journeyman before he landed in a opportune spot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001. Flanked by a historically good defense and a hotshot coach in Jon Gruden, Johnson served as the ultimate game manager as he led the Bucs to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. He serves as an example for teams lacking an elite quarterback. Johnson took care of the football, and allowed Tampa’s star-studded defense to make a difference.

Now: Brad Johnson

Despite Johnson lacking elite tools as a passer, he managed to throw for just under 30,000 career passing yards and boasts a 72-53 record as a starter. Johnson and his family currently reside in Atlanta. His son, Max, is also a quarterback and is committed to play for the LSU Tigers this upcoming year.

Jake Delhomme

Before Cam Newton, the unquestioned best quarterback in Carolina Panthers history was…Jake Delhomme? Believe it or not, it’s true. Delhomme previously held all of the passing records Newton has since obliterated. Both QB’s coincidentally led the Panthers to a Super Bowl — though Newton did so on the heels of an MVP campaign, while Delhomme leaned heavily on one of the league’s top defenses.

Now: Jake Delhomme

Following Delhomme’s run to the Super Bowl, the Panthers rewarded their starting quarterback with a generous $42.5 million extension which included $20 million guaranteed. Delhomme reverted to being a league-average quarterback, and proceeded to throw 37 interceptions in his next 31 starts. Delhomme has since returned to his hometown of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana where he breeds and races horses.

Rich Gannon

Gannon was a bit of a late bloomer. After bouncing around the league for the first decade of his career, Gannon didn’t truly breakout until he arrived in Oakland in 1999. Gannon and Raider head coach Jon Gruden instantly clicked, as the nearly 40-year-old QB put together an MVP season and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl berth in 2002. That year would be the pinnacle for Gannon, as his body betrayed him during the last two years of his career. Gannon played just 10 games in those final two seasons.

Now: Rich Gannon

Gannon quickly landed on his feet post-retirement. He accepted a broadcasting job with CBS Sports and covered NFL games as an analyst. He now co-hosts a daily radio show on Sirius XM NFL Radio. Gannon has two daughters with his wife, Shelley. Gannon and his wife became spokespeople for the Celiac Disease Foundation after their daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease. The family organizes an annual walk in Victoria, Minnesota to help fund-raise for further research.

Jon Kitna

The Central Washington product made a nice career for himself after going undrafted in 1996. Kitna stuck around in the NFL until 2013, making stops in Seattle, Cincinnati, Detroit and Dallas. In total, Kitna started 124 NFL games and was just 300 yards short of 30,000 career passing yards. Kitna served as the primary backup to Warren Moon, Carson Palmer, Matthew Stafford, and Tony Romo.

Now: Jon Kitna

Shortly after retiring, Kitna became a math teacher and head football coach at Lincoln High School in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. After improving the program tremendously, Kitna accepted another head coaching job at a high school in Dallas.

Kitna’s coaching prowess caught on nationally, as he was eventually hired to be an offensive coordinator for the San Diego Fleet of the now defunct Alliance of American Football — though he would never end up coaching a game for the Fleet.

Kitna now works as the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys.

Chad Pennington

Originally pegged to be a fourth-string redshirt at Marshall, Pennington burst onto the scene after leading the Thundering Herd to the NCAA Divsion 1-AA title game in 1995. Alongside fellow Marshall alum Randy Moss, Pennington and the Herd went undefeated in 1999 with a 13-0 record. The Heisman Trophy finalist was a first-round pick of the New York Jets in the 2000 NFL Draft, but didn’t truly start making waves in the NFL until 2002.

Now: Chad Pennington

Pennington was good, but not great for most of his career. Had his arm been a bit stronger — and had he stayed healthy — Pennington could have been considered one of the better QB’s of his era. Unfortunately, Pennington was plagued by injuries — though he did win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award on two occasions (2006 and 2008).

Pennington and his family now reside in Woodford County, Kentucky. He and his wife, Robin, founded the 1st and 10 Foundation which has helped fund programs and schools in Virginia, New York, and Tennessee.

Jeff George

George segued a brilliant career at Illinois into being the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. The Indianapolis Colts granted George the wealthiest rookie deal in league history ($15 million), and George proceeded to lose 35-of-49 starts as Indy’s starting QB. George bounced around several teams in the league — and even led the league in passing yards in 1997 — but never lived up to the hype of being selected first overall.

Now: Jeff George

Though George had the arm talent to make an NFL roster, no team was willing to give him a chance during his latter years. He fully retired in 2006, and began making television appearances on the NFL Network and local radio stations. George’s son, Jeff Jr., is a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team.

Vinny Testaverde

Testaverde was one of many star QB’s to play for the Miami Hurricanes during the 1980s and 1990s. After a prolific collegiate career, Testaverde was able to stay local when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him first overall in 1987. Though he never rose to stardom in the NFL, Testaverde carved a nice niche as a journeyman backup who played well for several teams. He would wind up making two Pro Bowl squads, and still holds several passing records for the Buccaneers franchise.

Now: Vinny Testaverde

The Brooklyn native loved Florida so much that he still lives there with his family to this day. Nowadays, Testaverde works as a QB coach for Jesuit High School of Tampa — where he coached his son, Vincent Jr. After going undrafted in 2019, Vinny Jr. signed with the Buccaneers practice squad.

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