The average career of an NFL player is a little more than three years.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown has managed to extend his to more than 14.
He’s never been named an All-Pro; never been a Pro Bowler. He’s played for seven different teams and been asked to be a backup on nearly all of them.
He’s never had a winning record as a starter and only thrice thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in a season.
So why do teams keep re-signing him? Why is he constantly sought out to fill holes in the quarterback depth chart? How has he stretched his career to a length nearly three times that of the average quarterback?
In a postgame interview on Sunday, McCown’s character was put on full display, and it answered all of those questions.
McCown is in his second season with the Browns and was asked to take a backseat to Robert Griffin III when the season started — something McCown has pretty much become accustom to.
When Griffin injured his shoulder in Week 1, McCown was asked to take over the team in Week 2.
The veteran looked unstoppable early on, leading Cleveland to a 20-0 lead over the Baltimore Ravens, before the Ravens scored 25 unanswered points to win it 25-20.
McCown performed decently, throwing a pair of both touchdowns and picks to compliment his 260 yards passing, but the end result was disappointing — an 0-2 start to the season for the Browns.
What’s worse, McCown seriously injured his shoulder in the first quarter. But he didn’t miss a snap.
Why? Well, here’s why:
McCown told reporters:
“It’s just not wanting to not be out there with your guys. I’ve got a dad and an older brother who get up and go to work and sometimes they don’t feel great and they go, they go and they grind. I’ve got two little boys that are playing football now. They get hit and they get banged up, and I’m trying to teach them what toughness means. For me, it’s those things and just knowing the window for me right now and understanding that I don’t want to miss snaps. I don’t want to be out there without my guys. So, unless it’s going to fall off, let’s try to make it work and make it go. That’s my mentality.”
That is without question the definition of a leader.
McCown is expected to be “out awhile” following the injury, but the 37-year-old seems at peace when knowing that he did everything he could to leave it all on the field.
McCown won’t statistically be remembered for much in his NFL career, but he should be remembered as a role model for younger players and non-players alike.