Vince Young is trying to recaptiure the magic that let to his being selected in the first round of…
Can Young Revive His Career in Buffalo?
The Sports Xchange
Vince Young didn't call the Buffalo Bills a "Dream Team." He also didn't say that playing backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former seventh-rounder, was a dream come true for someone who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 draft.
What he did say was all the right things when conducting his first news conference after signing with Buffalo as its latest high-profile free agent.
Young, whose fame rose and faded with the Tennessee Titans, signed a one-year deal with the Bills worth a reported $2 million after one forgettable year with the Philadelphia Eagles backing up Michael Vick. So unimpressed were the Eagles, they're going with former Bills bust Trent Edwards as their No. 2.
So where does that leave Young's career? Hopefully on the rebound, he said, being ultra-careful not to rock the boat and undermine Fitzpatrick as the new guy in town.
"I'm pretty much used to it," Young said of accepting the role of backup. "All you can do is come in and work. This league is crazy injury wise, all kinds of things. I'm not wishing that on him (Fitzpatrick). He's our starting quarterback and I'm behind him 100 percent. The biggest thing is and not just at my position but any position on a football field, you have to be always ready because you never know what's going to happen."
Buffalo, which failed to draft a quarterback, was in the market to upgrade the competition behind Fitzpatrick and give themselves strong insurance in the event he were to be injured. Young, a two-time Pro Bowler, is 31-19 as a starter in his NFL career and presents a more experienced option over Tyler Thigpen, who is in the second year of a three-year deal.
"We're always looking to try to improve our team, to get deeper and to get more competition. That's what this is," general manager Buddy Nix said. "It's a competition for the backup quarterback job. Not the starter. Obviously I've said that 100 times. He (Young) knows it. That's the way it is. It's just to try to get us better."
Nix has been bombarded with questions about Young becoming a distraction for his team given his high profile. Nix scoffed.
"Let me just say this to start with: He won't be a distraction here and neither will anybody else. It may start out but it won't last. I promise you. That's not a problem," Nix said.
But why even go down the road with Young, who has created controversy in both his previous NFL stops?
"The guy's been to two Pro Bowls and he's 31-19 as a starter in this league," Nix said. "We think he can do that again. If he has to play he can give us a chance to win the game or at least he will make Tyler (Thigpen) better. One of them will be better. So that will make our team better."
For his career, Young has completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 8,964 yards, 46 touchdowns and 51 interceptions. He's also rushed for 1,459 yards and 12 scores.
With his athleticism and with coach Chan Gailey's reputation for tailoring schemes that fit his personnel, Young could conceivably play well enough for the Bills to weather an injury to Fitzpatrick and even be a viable option should Fitzpatrick's game go downhill.
"We tend to fit the offense around what people do. We don't make people fit into our offense," Gailey said. "If we get an injury to Fitz and he ends up playing we'll tailor some things to do what he does using his movement skills. ... There's no telling what he can do."
Not that Young had a lot of options, but working with Gailey and quarterbacks coach David Lee was very appealing to him.
"He (Gailey) understands his players. You've got to respect that. You want to be one of those guys that just sits there, learns, pays attention and keeps your mouth closed," Young said. "He knows what he's doing. Just reading his history, he has a long beautiful history. At the same time he just missed a little bit short on not winning so I want myself or Fitz and Thig, that's our whole goal. That's our goal is to win that championship for him. Whatever it takes, whether it's studying extra hours or whatever it is, getting the guys doing extra things, whatever it is, that's what we want to do for him. He's definitely worth that Super Bowl."
Young took time to explain what he was doing when he called the Eagles a "Dream Team" last year. The Eagles were among the league's biggest disappointments and Young took heat for what some perceived as cockiness.
"What I was basically saying is just the respect of the players," he said. "Just like we have here we have a lot of respectable players on this team as well. From Fitz, from Jax (Fred Jackson), it's a long list of guys. I definitely won't make that comment again because it was definitely blown out of proportion. It's just to show you that it's the respect I have for the players that were around in that locker room and to finally get a chance and sit in the locker room when you've got guys like we had out there. It's the same thing here. From Mario (Williams), you've got guys that used to chase me around. It's a great thing to be on the same sideline with those guys now. It's a great opportunity to be here."
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