06/17 15:14 CDT QB Josh McCown retires after 16 NFL seasons
QB Josh McCown retires after 16 NFL seasons
By DENNIS WASZAK JR.
AP Pro Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- Josh McCown was sometimes the starting quarterback, often the
backup --- and always among the most-respected and well-liked players in
whatever locker room he was in.
And there were many.
McCown, who turns 40 on July 4, wrote in a piece for The Players' Tribune
posted Monday that he is retiring from playing football after an NFL career
that spanned 16 NFL seasons and included stints with 10 teams. He will be
helping coach his two sons --- also quarterbacks --- in high school this year.
McCown said he also plans to work as a TV football analyst in the future, and
ESPN said later Monday it had hired him as an NFL analyst.
McCown was often considered a "bridge" quarterback, and his career record as a
starter was only 23-53. But McCown's career was about more than numbers.
"I guess it just goes to show that you don't always get to choose your own
path," McCown wrote. "But looking back, I'm proud of how my career has gone. I
don't shy away from the journeyman label. I embrace it, full force.
"Because it's been one heck of a journey."
He played the last two seasons with the New York Jets, serving as the starter
in 2017 and as a veteran backup to rookie Sam Darnold last year. Darnold often
raved about how McCown prepared every week, particularly during a four-game
stretch when the rookie was sidelined by a foot injury. McCown filled in during
that time for Darnold, who stepped back into the starting job when he was
healthy and finished his first NFL season with a flourish.
"Just watching Josh, just the way he went about studying the plays that are in
the game plan, it's literally everything, walkthrough, practice, how he treated
everything," Darnold said late last season. "I think it was just awesome to be
able to learn and watch him."
McCown issued a statement through agent Mike McCartney shortly before the NFL's
new year began in March that his desire to continue playing remained strong,
but he wanted to spend more time with his family to consider his options.
McCown, an unrestricted free agent, made the Jets aware of his situation, and
New York signed Trevor Siemian to serve as the backup to Darnold this season.
McCown was a third-round draft pick of Arizona in 2002 out of Sam Houston
State. McCown and Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers were the only remaining
active players from their draft class. Now, there are none; Peppers announced
his retirement last month.
After four seasons with the Cardinals, when he started 22 games, McCown signed
with Detroit as a free agent in 2006. Next came stints with Oakland (2007),
Miami (2008) and Carolina (2008-09), and then a stop in 2010 with the Hartford
Colonials of the United Football League. McCown also coached high school ball
during that time, and it appeared his NFL playing career might be over.
He got a look from San Francisco during training camp in 2011, but was cut
before the season. Chicago signed him, and he revived his career with the
Bears. He had what was then his best season in 2013, when he threw for 1,829
yards with 13 touchdowns and just one interception while filling in for an
injured Jay Cutler.
McCown signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2014, spent two years with
Cleveland and then joined the Jets, for whom he had a career year in 2017. He
had personal highs of 2,926 yards passing and 18 touchdowns with just nine
interceptions in 13 starts before missing the last three games with a broken
With New York's quarterback situation uncertain last offseason, McCown was
re-signed for one year and $10 million. The Jets ended up trading up in the
draft to take Darnold at No. 3 overall, and McCown became a high-priced backup
--- something team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson had no regrets about.
"Josh is very valuable whether he's on the field or not," Johnson said early
last season. "Not just for Sam, but for a lot of other players. They talk about
his leadership. I think he's money well spent."
McCown finished with 17,707 career yards passing, 98 touchdowns and 82
interceptions, with a 60.2 completion percentage and 79.7 quarterback rating.
"At the end of the day, no matter what team I was on, I tried to serve it to
the best of my ability, and I tried to influence my team in a positive manner,"
McCown wrote. "I hope I did that. And I made sure that when my number was
called, I was prepared, and I gave it everything I had, every time."
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