The Big Mac Blog

Vince Young and “failure”

Vince Young during some of the good times in his time with the Titans; he celebrates a win over the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. He last played in the NFL in 2011.
Vince Young during some of the good times in his time with the Titans; he celebrates a win over the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. He last played in the NFL in 2011. Getty Images

- He stood there neither irritated nor pleased, but clearly Vince Young was not totally at ease at the Fort Worth Club on Monday night.

Not as comfortable as he was back in 2006 when he was in the same room to accept the Davey O’Brien award as college football’s best quarterback. Nine years later, he was back as part of the festivities to honor this year’s winner, Marcus Mariota.

When VY was there in ‘06, he sported some nice jewelry, including a watch roughly the size of a small meteor. He kept saying how humble he was, a line later used against him during his pro career when it became clear he did not know the meaning of the word. It is safe to say that life has not gone the way he projected when he sat in the Fort Worth Club fending of reporters, handlers and fans - all of whom were sure he would thrive in the NFL.

VY is an NFL bust, but that does not mean he is a life bust. It is clear neither he, nor many fans, can seperate the two but at some point one is much bigger than the other. He just needs to accept it.

Vince has not played in the NFL since 2011, but he remains a fascinating character for fans and the media. He had nothing. He had everything. He blew it all. And now his life, ostensibly, is OK.

Vince is now an employee at the University of Texas making $100,000. He is a college graduate. He lives in Austin. He does some work for The Longhorn Network. He attends events where he is Vince Young, and he talks to incoming students about ... whatever.

“What’s satisfying about it is being a part of kids. That’s why I majored in Education,” VY said Monday night. “To be a face for them to understand what they went through. I was that same kid - I didn’t how how I was going to get to college. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it.

“To have the opportunity to enhance that awareness and how to get that free (scholarship) money, and to hang out with them and let them know that education is a great opportunity for life.”

This is a pretty good life, if you can accept it.

The problem for VY is that it at 31 it looks like he has not come to terms that life didn’t go the way it was promised when he stood back in the Fort Worth Club as the best QB in college. The problem for VY is that it does not look, or sound, like he has been able to accept the fact the one thing he excelled - football - he “failed”.

It was this week nine years ago he headed to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine to impress the teams that considered drafting him.

He was the third overall pick in the ‘06 draft, and no one can say he had a pro career worthy of the hype, or his selection slot. He went 31-19 as a starter in the NFL, was a Pro Bowler twice, but he was not an accurate passer, and he was a baby. It was distinct lack of humility that eventually did him in and prevented him from extending a career even as a backup. NFL teams and GMs didn’t want the hassle, real or perceived, for a No. 2.

Even when he was begging to get back into the league in 2012 he still had the air that being VY mattered outside of Austin, and specifically Longhornville. He still was big-timing people at a moment of his life when needed to grasp the type of humility he always preached. He often used the word “humble” but he never grasped its meaning. He should now.

VY is an NFL bust, but he at least had the sense not to flop at life. He has a lot going for him, the trick for him is to accept it.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof

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