Former NFL QB Vince Young returns to field with Saskatchewan Roughriders in Canada

One of the greatest college players of all time and former NFL quarterback Vince Young is making a comeback with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.

Rumors have been swirling for a few weeks and on Thursday, Saskatchewan made it official. Young is now a Saskatchewan Roughrider.

And the club has already begun selling Vince Young jerseys.

The 6’5″, 232 lb 33 year old worked out for the Roughriders coaches last week after discussions first were held in late January.

Vince Young, a former quarterback with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans, holds up a jersey during a news conference at Mosaic Stadium, Thursday, March 9, 2017, in Regina, Saskatchewan, after signing with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina Thursday, March 9, 2017. (Photo: Mark Taylor, AP)

Young had a spectacular college career at Texas, guiding the Longhorns to a 30-2 record over his three seasons as a starter. During his time at Texas, Young passed for 6,040 yards and 44 touchdowns and rushed for 3,127 yards and 37 TDs. In 2005, he became the first quarterback in NCAA Division 1 history to exceed 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.

He had 467 yards of total offense (267 yards passing, 200 yards rushing) and ran for three TDs to lead the Longhorns to a 41-38 victory over the USC Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl — that year’s national championship game.

He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 2005.

Young was drafted in the first round (third overall) of the 2006 NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans. After starting 13 games in the 2006 season, he was named the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year and was selected to appear in the Pro Bowl.

He spent nine seasons in the NFL after being drafted third overall by the Tennessee Titans in 2006. He was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2009.

Young posted a 31-19 record in 50 career regular-season starts and completed 755 of 1,304 pass attempts (57.9%) for 8,964 yards and 46 touchdowns while adding 282 rush attempts for 1,459 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year and selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006. He was selected to the Pro Bowl again in 2009. Young was released by the Titans on July 28, 2011, and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles the following day. He appeared in six games with them that season.

After his career in Philadelphia ended, he had stints with the Buffalo Bills (2012), Green Bay Packers (2013) and Cleveland Browns (2014) but didn’t appear in a regular-season game with any of them.

He hasn’t been on a team since he was released by the Browns on May 12, 2014. He announced his retirement on June 14, 2014.

Since leaving the NFL, Young has been working for the University of Texas in its diversity department and doing TV work on the Longhorn Network. His holdings include a steakhouse and a real estate brokerage.

So why did Young decide to make a comeback at age 33? Young talked to the Houston Chronicle:

“I still definitely love the game. 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 former Titans quarterback sees the CFL as the perfect place to start his comeback.

“I thought it was a great chance for me to finish my career how I want to finish it,” Young said. “I reached out to Leigh. 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.”

After several years away from football, Young says he’ll be ready to play when training camp begins in late May.

“Overall, I’m okay. I’ve been training since February,” Young said. “This was a good move for me because I still have the fire to play football.”

The Roughriders’ first game is Friday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Montreal.

With excerpts from the CFL, Saskatchewan Roughriders, CBS Sports and Houston Chronicle.

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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