Vince Young doesn’t take anything for granted. Not after the road he’s been down.
Once of the NFL’s rising stars before personal problems sidetracked the quarterback’s career, Young signed a one-year contract on Thursday with the Cleveland Browns.
Although rusty, Young who hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2011, showed enough during a three-day tryout to get the deal.
It’s been a long climb back for Young, who won’t celebrate with so much work to be done.
“There’s no popping the champagne bottle,” he said.
The 30-year-old Young comes with an impressive resume after going 31-19 as an NFL starter and making two Pro Bowls.
He was signed along with free agent QB Tyler Thigpen and linebacker Zac Diles shortly after the Browns completed their first minicamp under new coach Mike Pettine.
This is another fresh start for Young, who spent part of the past two preseasons with Buffalo and Green Bay but hasn’t appeared in a game since Dec. 18, 2011, for Philadelphia.
He has endured financial problems, dealt with emotional issues and tried to balance his personal life while keeping his professional one afloat. Young is thankful for the new opportunity and plans to do all he can to convince the Browns that he’s worth hanging onto for a while.
After being offered a contract, Young told the Browns that instead of flying home to Texas, he planned to stay the weekend in Cleveland so he could become more acclimated with the team’s playbook and to work out.
“Right now I have my head down, just wanting to work and show the team, the organization what type of guy I am,” Young said. “That was my whole focus and how much hard work I put in.”
Pettine said there were some moments over the past few days when Young looked like the Young of old.
“He took off and ran for a first down, we just finished up a rack of third down plays here and you could tell he’s very rusty,” Pettine said. “I was just joking with him the other day that rust was falling off in large clumps, but he flashed a couple of times. You don’t realize how big he is until you stand next to him.
“We talk about all these 6-foot, 5-11 quarterbacks in the draft and then he comes walking out and you say, ‘Oh, that’s what they’re supposed to look like.”’
Thigpen was out of the league last year after playing six seasons with Kansas City, Miami and Buffalo. He’s 1-11 as a career starter with 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “I thought for a while there that the door was going to close, but now that opportunity has opened back up. It’s time to take advantage of it.”