Comeback Party: Manziel Isn’t Alone When It Comes to QB Comebacks
Having gone through rehab, maligned QB Johnny Manziel is ready to crack open an attempt on an NFL comeback.
The former first round pick Manziel, who had acknowledged he has had problems with his hard partying antics, announced this week he has hired an agent and comeback talks have begun. Personally, while I have made cracks on Manziel in the past for the way his NFL career fizzled out, I'm glad to see he is trying to get his life back on track, and wish him luck in his efforts to return to football.
Manziel, who took the 2016 season off, has some good inspiration when it comes to quarterbacks who took a year off, whether due to their own decision or not, from the NFL, based on these four examples...
In an 11-year career in Philadelphia, Randall Cunningham was the Michael Vick of his day, minus the controversy. By 1995, however, he was a shell of his former self, and the Eagles were ready to move on, handing the starting reigns over to Rodney Peete. Cunningham subsequently retired from football, but was called back into service after one year off by Dennis Green, reuniting Cunningham with his Philadelphia teammate, Cris Carter. Adding Randy Moss to the mix one year later, the trio had one of the best offensive seasons in NFL history, ending the year at 15-1. Cunningham went on to play three more season after his return to the NFL, splitting those years between Minnesota, Baltimore, and Dallas.
You have to feel for Trent Green. He was called into the St. Louis Rams in 1999 to be the franchise quarterback, but he got "Dak Prescott-ed" before it was cool, as a preseason injury forced him out of service. In his place went Kurt Warner, who played the entire '99 season, and captured Super Bowl XXXIV. Green did not throw any passes that year, but the Super Bowl champ instead impressed when Warner went down with an injured hand, enough for the Rams to trade him to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 1st round pick. Green enjoyed several seasons of prosperity with the Chiefs, though his tenure was marred by clutch failures and late injuries. He spent his twilight years with the Dolphins and a reunion with the Rams.
Peyton Manning, more or less, put Indianapolis football on the map. When he arrived in the Hoosier state in 1998, the Colts had made the playoffs just three times since arriving in 1982. Under Manning, the Colts made the playoffs in 10 of their 12 seasons with the gunslinger, and earned the title of champions in Super Bowl XLI. That made it all the more difficult when Manning, forced to miss the entire 2011 season due to injury, a season that relegated the Colts to 2-14 status, was asked to leave in favor of top overall pick Andrew Luck. Manning went to Denver and performed brilliantly for a few more seasons. While most of his tremendous skill had deteriorated, he went out on the highest of highs, helping Denver earn victory in Super Bowl 50.
A first-round selection of Denver in the 1992 Draft, Maddox had the odds stacked against him from the start after a good career at UCLA. Many criticized Denver being the ones to take Maddox, considering the team had several other needs and John Elway was still in the midst of his prime. His time in Denver didn't yield much success, nor did stops with the Rams or Giants. After briefly becoming an Allstate agent, Maddox made a name for himself in the supposedly more "fun" NFL alternatives, the Arena Football League and the XFL. In the latter, he led the Los Angeles Xtreme to a victory in the Million Dollar Game (yes, really), and earned league MVP honors. He returned to the NFL in 2001, six years in between throwing NFL passes, signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Subbing in for fan favorite Kordell Stewart, Maddox ended up starting 11 games, posting a 7-3-1 record. He led three 4th quarter comebacks, adding one more in the postseason as the Steelers came back to earn a wild card victory over Cleveland. Though Maddox would eventually give way to Ben Roethlisberger, he did earned a ring when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL.
Speaking of Vick, he had quite comeback of his own. Upon his release from prison for the dogfighting ring uncovered in 2007, Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles. After spending a majority of his first year back on the bench, Vick officially made his prescience felt throughout the football world in 2010, his crowning achievement perhaps being the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands", in which Vick led the Eagles back from a late 21 point deficit to help the Eagles not only earn the NFC East division title, but deliver a crippling blow to the Giants playoff hopes. After two excellent years with the Eagles, Vick feel victim to injuries and inconsistency, ending his career in backup appearances with the Steelers and Jets.
Who are your favorite QB comeback stories? Tweet @GeoffMags5490 and keep the conversation going
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