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Old 03-27-2009, 01:36 PM   #1
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Default George still grasping for one last shot at glory

Jeff George swears he hasn’t lost his fastball, even as he dreams, at 41, of an unlikely comeback into a league that last saw him throw a pass eight years ago.

He certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

George, mindful that he has served as a point of reference in recent weeks for critics of disgruntled Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, was asked Tuesday in a telephone interview whether he viewed such a comparison as insulting or complimentary.

“Oh, that’s a huge compliment,” George said, drawing out his Indiana drawl for sarcastic effect. “I mean, you can’t get any better than that.”


Lest George be accused of taking a shot at Cutler, the strong-armed passer who became steamed at his superiors after they contemplated trading him for former New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel last month, the first overall pick of the 1990 NFL draft believes Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is to blame for the conflict.

“Really, it’s unfortunate that a team would do that,” George said. “I know people say he’s a crybaby and needs to suck it up, and I understand a coach saying that every position is open for competition. But it’s different when it comes to quarterbacks. You need to be a little sensitive to that position.

“The quarterback position is so fragile, and people just don’t understand what goes into it. It’s not just on Sundays that you’re on the spot. You’re the leader of the team. You’re the face of the franchise. The minute it comes out that they’re thinking about getting rid of you for someone else, you feel like the coach isn’t on your side, and there’s a trust issue.

“If your teammates are seeing that the coach is already putting you on the trading block or trying to push you out, in the back of their minds they’ll wonder if the team is committed to you, and it’s tough for you to lead. Can Jay go back to Denver and lead that team and have everybody believe in him? It’s gonna be tough.”

In fairness, George also believes that Cutler is wrong to boycott the team’s offseason training program, saying, “I would tell him to just go in, bust your butt and work as hard as you can over the offseason. Go in and be a leader like you think you can be. Don’t give ‘em any excuse to say you’re a crybaby.”

Besides, as much as he would like to counsel Cutler not to repeat some of his mistakes, George has his own issues. He wants one more shot at NFL glory, and he can’t even scare up so much as a tryout.

“I’ve been trying to figure out how to get back in, and it just amazes me that I’m not on somebody’s roster,” George said. “I’ve been throwing two or three times a week, and every time I go out there to throw, I can’t believe I’m not a backup somewhere. I know it’s a young man’s game, but you can’t tell me I’m not better than some of the quarterbacks that are out there. I look at teams like Minnesota or Chicago, and I want to scream at the people in charge, ‘What are you thinking?’ ”

George, who last got a sniff from the Oakland Raiders – he spent five days on the team’s roster shortly before the start of the 2006 season, his second stint with the Silver and Black – isn’t bitter about his plight. For the most part, he’s happy watching his 12-year-old son, Jeffrey, tear it up on the suburban Indianapolis youth-sports circuit (“He was the quarterback of his seventh-grade team,” Jeff says, “and they just went undefeated for the first time in the junior high’s history”), with daughter Jordan, 10, and son Jayden, 8, also occupying his and wife Teresa’s attention.

Yet the competitor in George can’t let it go, especially when he sees teams like the Vikings, for whom he put up huge numbers while going 8-2 as a starter in 1999, and the Cowboys, who struggled last season when Tony Romo missed several weeks with an injury and 40-year-old backup Brad Johnson was ineffective.

“If I was in Minnesota,” George said, “I guarantee I’d be wearing a ring right now. I just can’t get over why somebody like [coach] Brad Childress wouldn’t take a look at me and have me as the third guy on their roster. Put me in and I’ll pick up right where I left off in ’99, but this time with Adrian Peterson, so I wouldn’t have to throw it nearly as much.”

Yet when Childress, during the 2007 season, was asked if he had any interest in George, the coach was dismissive, saying, “Probably maybe [he could] go to a fantasy camp or something like that. ‘Downside’ would probably be, I think, kind.”

Similarly, though George yearns for a spot on the Cowboys’ roster – “If Tony Romo goes down,” he said, “who’s better out there to run the Dallas offense than somebody like me – someone who knows how to throw to veteran receivers and get the ball downfield and keep them happy?” – it’s clear that his love is destined to be unrequited.

“I would think it’s way past his time,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Thursday. “Being that he sat out all those years, plus he’s [over] 40, and he wasn’t exactly what everybody was looking for to start out with, I just don’t see it. I’d say his chances are slim and none. I know we wouldn’t be interested, but you never can tell with someone like Al Davis, so maybe the Raiders would bite.”

George understands that his reputation as a selfish, divisive presence with a penchant for pouting isn’t helping his quest, and there’s not a whole lot he can do about that now. It’s a subject I first explored nearly 12 years ago while reporting a Sports Illustrated feature that ran after George signed a five-year, $27-million contract with the Raiders. George had landed in Oakland after unhappy endings in his hometown of Indianapolis (the Colts traded up to draft him but shipped him off after four seasons) and Atlanta (where he infamously engaged in a sideline spat with coach June Jones that led to his being suspended and released).

Having done my share of due diligence over the years, I’ve concluded that while George might have displayed some immaturity and petulance at times (hey, I can relate), he’s far from the locker-room cancer he’s often portrayed to be. If there are a few players and coaches that feel that way, they are vastly outnumbered by a base of supporters as diverse as devout Christian Steve Wisniewski, the ex-Raiders guard, and polarizing Patriots wideout Randy Moss, one of George’s prime targets in Minnesota.

As for his relationship with Jones, who is now the SMU head coach? “June’s one of my best friends,” said George, who suggested the two of us speak. (Jones and I played phone-tag on Thursday.)

I asked George about the disastrous end to the 2000 season, when the Redskins fired Norv Turner and George – replacing Brad Johnson – started the final two games for interim coach Terry Robiskie. Stories soon circulated that George, a gifted play-caller by reputation, had been a rebellious saboteur who recklessly called audibles against his coach’s wishes.

“Everybody tries to use you as a scapegoat in an effort to save their jobs,” George said. “That’s the way it is. When Norv was in Washington, you weren’t even allowed to call audibles – that’s the way the offense was set up. So at the end of the year after Terry came in we were in Dallas and we were losing late in the fourth quarter and had a third-and-20. I said to [wideout] Irving Fryar in the huddle, ‘If you get one-on-one coverage I’ll put it up and we’ll try to get a first down.’ Sure enough, I saw man-to-man on the outside, and I threw it to Irving and it was incomplete. That was it. But people ran with it to try to save their butts.”

The next year George lasted only two games as new Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer’s starter before being released, and despite subsequent signings by the Seahawks (as an emergency quarterback late in the ’02 season), Bears (as a backup for the second part of the ’04 season) and Raiders, he has yet to take another snap.

It’s not for lack of persistence. “I can honestly say that if it doesn’t work out for me, I have exhausted every avenue,” George said. “Guys like [ex-Broncos coach] Mike Shanahan, I used to wear him out. I’d bug him just about every week, and he was the nicest guy – he always returned my calls. But I wore him out.”




When I saw George in Tampa the day before Super Bowl XLIII, he was excited about Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner’s surprising revival at 37 and hopeful that it could help persuade teams to take his comeback efforts seriously. “If your job is on the line,” George said, “wouldn’t you trust a guy who has been there over some 23-year-old, at least as your backup?”

George, who runs daily, said he is 20 pounds lighter than he was as a player (he was last listed at 218) and is about as fast – yes, it’s a relative term – as he was coming out of college. As for his incredibly gifted right arm, George insisted it’s nearly as potent as it ever was. “I can probably chuck it 78 yards,” he said, “compared to when I was coming out [of college] and could throw it 85.”

On Tuesday, an unseasonably warm day in Indy, George went to a local high school, where one of his receivers from back in the day at Warren Central High is now the head coach, and enlisted the services of some eager juniors and seniors from his buddy’s team. The eager targets laid out for balls in an effort to please their famous guest. It was, George agreed, a scene that conjured images of Warren Beatty’s Joe Pendleton, having inhabited the body of deceased multi-millionaire Leo Farnsworth, throwing to the hired help in the backyard of his mansion in “Heaven Can Wait.”

In the movie, of course, Pendleton winds up returning as ex-teammate Tom Jarrett and winning the NFL’s biggest game in dramatic fashion. George harbors similar fantasies, saying, “I know if someone just gives me a chance, I know I can realize my dream of taking a team to the Super Bowl.”

At the same time, he’s a realist – and a man who, at the very least, knows how to goof on his own image.

“Hey, the economy’s struggling,” George said, laughing. “If you threw me into a preseason game to see how I’d do, there are a lot of people who’d be curious, even if a lot of them were rooting for me to fail. I think it would generate some excitement.”

At this desperate stage – as George would say – you can’t get any better than that.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_yl...yhoo&type=lgns
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:47 PM   #2
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Uh, I'm sold...He'd break off 2k in our system.
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:15 PM   #3
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Of course Florio has a take...

Jeff George Says That If He Was In Minnesota, He’d Have A Ring
Posted by Mike Florio on March 27, 2009, 2:25 p.m. EDT

With Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler drawing increasing comparisons to former NFL quarterback Jeff George, Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports caught up with George to get his position on the situation, and to talk about other stuff, too.

Here’s the quote that made our head jerk in Kramer-style fashion: “If I was in Minnesota, I guarantee I’d be wearing a ring right now,” George said. “I just can’t get over why somebody like [coach] Brad Childress wouldn’t take a look at me and have me as the third guy on their roster. Put me in and I’ll pick up right where I left off in ’99, but this time with Adrian Peterson, so I wouldn’t have to throw it nearly as much.”

(Be careful with that, Jeff, or Robert Smith will send a nasty e-mail about you to Deadspin.)

As to the comparisons to Cutler, George opted for sarcasm.

“Oh, that’s a huge compliment,” George told Silver. “I mean, you can’t get any better than that.”

And the comparison might not be warranted, given that George says he wouldn’t boycott offseason workouts.

“I would tell him to just go in, bust your butt and work as hard as you can over the offseason,” George said. “Go in and be a leader like you think you can be. Don’t give ‘em any excuse to say you’re a crybaby.”

But even with the right attitude, it’s probably too late for the 41-year-old George to get another shot.

“I would think it’s way past his time,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told Silver. “Being that he sat out all those years, plus he’s [over] 40, and he wasn’t exactly what everybody was looking for to start out with, I just don’t see it. I’d say his chances are slim and none. I know we wouldn’t be interested, but you never can tell with someone like Al Davis, so maybe the Raiders would bite.”

We don’t know whether George would have won a Super Bowl in Minnesota, but he definitely would have been an upgrade.

But Brad Childress made it clear that George simply wasn’t going to get a shot when the issue first came up.

“Probably maybe go to a fantasy camp or something like that,” Childress said in 2007. As to whether George was on the downside of his career at the time, Childress said, “Downside would probably be — I think — kind.”

Frankly, that assessment would be kind as to Tarvaris Jackson. And Gus Frerotte. And Kelly Holcomb. And Brooks Bollinger.


http://www.profootballtalk.com/2009/...d-have-a-ring/
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:22 AM   #4
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bump
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:28 AM   #5
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hahaa. George really thinks he can do this. Poor guy
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:49 AM   #6
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"Back in '82, I used to be able to throw a pigskin a quarter mile.. How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncsRule View Post
"Back in '82, I used to be able to throw a pigskin a quarter mile.. How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."
Nice Uncle Rico reference.
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:29 AM   #8
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Every year it is something with this guy...
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:35 AM   #9
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Didn't al davis fall for this speech?
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:52 AM   #10
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I can't fault the guy for trying.
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:02 PM   #11
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At least he knows that Jay should go in and play. So i guess he has learned something after all this time.
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:08 PM   #12
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At least he knows that Jay should go in and play. So i guess he has learned something after all this time.

Except for his own reality part
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:21 PM   #13
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These stories will be about Cutler in about 5 yrs if he doesn't pull his head out and play some good football.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:41 AM   #14
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George added, "How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."


"Ohhhh, man I wish I could go back in time. I'd take state."
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatOneDenverMooseGuy View Post
George added, "How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."


"Ohhhh, man I wish I could go back in time. I'd take state."
Nailed it... Jeff George is Uncle Rico
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:48 AM   #16
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Honestly, I think it would be awesome to see Jeff back in the league playing for someone. It'd definitely be interesting.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:51 AM   #17
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we could bring him in to mentor Jay.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:52 AM   #18
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uncle rico=vince young

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Old 03-31-2009, 10:55 AM   #19
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If I had Jeff Georges arm , Dolly Partons títs and sang Like Conway Twitty ... I would have it made
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:55 AM   #20
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we could bring him in to mentor Jay.
You know you're going to catch crap for that.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:56 AM   #21
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If we didn't already realize 1999 was a bad year, I think it definitely dawned on us when Jeff George, as a Viking, converted a 3rd and 37 on our defense. To this day, as bad as our defense has been lately, I haven't seen them give up a 3rd and 37 situation like that, again.

God, that was so horrible.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:57 AM   #22
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This has been posted three times now.

http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=78872

http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=78850
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:00 AM   #23
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If we didn't already realize 1999 was a bad year, I think it definitely dawned on us when Jeff George, as a Viking, converted a 3rd and like 40, or maybe it was 48, something like 3rd and 48, but he converted it on our defense. To this day, as bad as our defense has been lately, I haven't seen them give up a 3rd and 40+ situation like that, again.

God, that was so horrible.

!

3RD AND 35......LEROY HOARD-1ST DOWN!

Halloween 1999. Broncos fans must have dressed up as Viking fans that day. I've never saw the old mile high invaded like that.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:00 AM   #24
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George is only 41...hmmm.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:02 AM   #25
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Ummm... the more the merrier?

Did the other two have the awesome Uncle Rico references?
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