After “the incident” following game one of the Titans’ 2008 NFL season, Vince Young gave no media interviews.
This spring, Young broke his silence to tell us he planned to remain silent.
“I am just going to keep my mouth closed, man. All I am doing this year is shutting up, just shutting up and working,” Young said. “I am going to smile and shut up and continue being Vince Young, a happy smiling guy. I am not going to get into the hoopla any more because of the fact I can’t win any more, I see.
“I am just going to shut my mouth and play my role and if they need me then I will be available as a weapon.”
If only he has stuck to his word.
Every Titans fan knows that, a few days ago, Vince Young gave an interview at a Baltimore football camp. I’m sure when he gave the interview, he had no desire to be the subject of one of the top sports stories during the first week of June.
And although he knows he can’t win with the media, he slipped and said something about “making a career change for himself.”
Before I heard the interview with my own ears, I had three reactions to reading his statement:
1. He’s mentally preparing himself for life as a non-Titan.
2. Doesn’t he have the same right to assert his desire to be the Titans starting quarterback as Kerry Collins? Maybe he’s getting his competive juices back. This is a good thing.
3. VY hasn’t played good football in a long time, and he’s pondering making a “career move”? Sound a bit premature, don’t you think?
After hearing the interview, I’m back to square one.
Vince Young did not sound arrogant, or even assertive. He sounded nervous… even a bit sad.
This probably sounds silly, as many of us have taken the liberty of psychoanalizing VY after last fall’s incident.
But the truth of the matter is that Vince Young has said too many things that make you question his state of mind and his love of the game.
In 2007, he is on record as saying he comtemplated retirement after his rookie season.
In 2008, there was the incident.
Now he’s expressed publicly that he’s thought about life outside of Nashville, and wonders if Titans management is considering letting him go.
As a Titans fan, and as a Texas Longhorn alum, this is really sad.
While watching Young as a Longhorn, I learned not to doubt the dramatically inconsistent quarterback who eventually put it all together and led Texas to a national championship.
I shouted with joy when the Titans drafted him to be its franchise quarterback.
I cheered him during his rookie season as the Titans fell one victory short of a playoff birth.
I defended him as he struggled during his second season, but raised a red flag when he spoke of retirement.
Today, Vince Young’s Q rating has never been lower. He has gone from Texas hero to Tennessee goat, and the journey has been tough to watch.
Last fall, after the incident, I wrote an open letter to Vince Young.
Today, my advice to Young is short and sweet.
Let your performance on the field do the talking.
In two short months, the preseason begins. The Titans play five games, so Vince Young will have ample opportunities to prove his doubters wrong, or to encourage his dwindling fan base that he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens, but for the first time, I doubt the Nashville chapter in Vince Young’s football life will end happily.
And as I’ve said before, I hope I’m wrong.