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Jeff George
No. 11, 1, 3
Position:Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1967-12-08) December 8, 1967 (age 56)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school:Warren Central (Indianapolis)
College:Illinois
NFL draft:1990 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
TDINT:154–113
Passing yards:27,602
Passer rating:80.4
Player stats at PFR

Jeffrey Scott George (born December 8, 1967) is an American former football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 14 seasons. He played college football for the Illinois Fighting Illini, where he won the Sammy Baugh Trophy, and was selected first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1990 NFL Draft. A member of seven NFL teams during his career, George helped the 1995 Atlanta Falcons and the 1999 Minnesota Vikings reach the playoffs and led the league in passing yards in 1997 with the Oakland Raiders. George's NFL tenure would also be marked by frequent conflicts with coaches and management, which resulted in his departure from most of his teams.

Early life

George was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to an Arab-American family.[1] He attended Warren Central High School, where he received the Dial Award for the national high school scholar-athlete of the year in 1985 and was the first Gatorade National Player of the Year. He attended Purdue University and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

College career

George transferred after a year at Purdue when the coach who recruited him, Leon Burtnett, resigned. Burtnett's replacement was Fred Akers, who had been known for his teams that used a run-heavy option type offense that required a more mobile quarterback. George subsequently committed to the University of Miami, but he backed out when coach Jimmy Johnson would not guarantee him a starting job. George stayed at Illinois for two years, leaving with a year of eligibility remaining after being assured he would be drafted as one of the first five picks of the NFL draft (he was picked No. 1 overall).

George would finish his college career with 6,212 yards, to go with 35 touchdowns and 35 interceptions, and most notably, an MVP performance against the Virginia Cavaliers in the 1990 Florida Citrus Growers Association Florida Citrus Bowl. In 1989, his final year as a college player, he threw for 2,738 yards, with 22 TD vs 12 INT.[2]

Professional career

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts traded up to draft George, making him the first pick in the 1990 NFL Draft,[3] and signed him to the richest rookie contract in NFL history at the time (worth a total of $15 million). George threw 46 interceptions to 41 touchdowns and lost 35 of his 49 career starts as a Colt; his only winning season with the Colts was 1992, during which he played ten games and threw 15 interceptions to seven touchdowns. Before the 1993 season, he refused to report to training camp and only returned to the team when Jim Irsay made it clear that George would have to pay a huge penalty fee for breach of contract if he did not get back to work. The Colts traded George to the Atlanta Falcons after the 1993 season.

Atlanta Falcons

In 1995, George led the Falcons to their first playoff appearance since 1991. On September 22, 1996, in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, George got into a heated argument on the sidelines with Falcons coach June Jones, all of which was caught on camera for a national television audience. Jones suspended George for the remainder of the 1996 season. It was later confirmed that George blamed team management for his problems and felt Jones betrayed him by not standing up to this alleged mistreatment. Years after the incident, Jones became an advocate for George, stating that the TV argument was overblown and that George was a good quarterback, a team player and worthy of being on an NFL roster.

George's record with the Falcons was 16–19. He had the best completion percentage (60.5) of his career with 50 touchdowns and 32 interceptions.

Oakland Raiders

George signed with the Oakland Raiders for the 1997 after leaving the Falcons. The Oilers, in their first home game since their controversial relocation from Houston, ruined George's debut (he threw three touchdowns to Tim Brown) by beating the Raiders, 24–21, on an Al Del Greco field goal in overtime. A notable moment for the Silver and Black came in Week 8; against the visiting Broncos, George delivered a workmanlike performance (9-12, 96 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT). Thanks in large part to Napoleon Kaufman's 227-yard performance on the ground, the host Raiders upset the eventual Super Bowl champions, 28–25. In his eighth year in the NFL, he had arguably his finest statistical year, throwing for 29 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions, for a 91.2 passer rating. However, despite George's stellar statistics, the team struggled overall; their defense finished 28th in scoring. Oakland finished 4–12 in Joe Bugel's one and only season as the Raiders' head coach.

The following year, the offense changed to head coach Jon Gruden's West Coast offense, a controlled-pass approach which did not suit George's strengths. George was inconsistent at the beginning of the year, and later struggled with a groin pull, telling a local radio audience that he was finished for the year. He also ignored the offensive coordinator's play calls during the 1998 season and ran his own plays through a wristband containing plays (in an interview, George told Joe Theismann that he did what the coaches wanted on 1st and 2nd down, and simply threw it to Tim Brown on 3rd down). The Raiders essentially ended George's Oakland tenure when they signed free-agent quarterback Rich Gannon.

Minnesota Vikings

After being cut by Oakland, George initially found himself without anywhere to play in 1999; an article at SI.com had several coaches (including Dick Vermeil, Mike Ditka, and Mike Holmgren) go on record about how George wasn't a winner and would not be considered by them despite their own poor/uncertain QB issues. However, the article also said that the Vikings had interest in George at a low salary to be the backup to Randall Cunningham, and George accepted that offer before training camp began. Cunningham struggled at the start of the 1999 season and was benched, and George took over the starting role. In 10 games as a starter George went 8–2 with 23 touchdowns, 8.6 yards per attempt, and a 94.2 rating, in leading Minnesota to the playoffs. George then earned his first career playoff win, throwing three touchdown passes to lead the Vikings over the Dallas Cowboys, 27–10. The Vikings lost the next week to the eventual Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams, 49–37. Minnesota wanted George to return in 2000 but the combination of him delaying contract talks and the team's confidence that Daunte Culpepper could take over at QB led the Vikings to cut ties with him. George ended up signing with the Washington Redskins.

Washington Redskins

George hoped to return to Minnesota as a starting quarterback but was told by head coach Dennis Green to "shop around". After attempting to speak to other teams about securing a starting quarterback job, he was eventually offered a one-year, $400,000 contract by Minnesota, with incentives of up to $1.4 million. Rather than sign with the Vikings, George signed a four-year contract worth $14.8 million with the Washington Redskins as Brad Johnson's backup.[4] Johnson went down in week 9; George replaced him and went 1–2 in the next three games. Johnson returned but played poorly against the New York Giants. George replaced him and started two games, both losses, after Norv Turner was fired in favor of interim coach Terry Robiskie. After the season, Johnson departed Washington for Tampa Bay, leaving George as the Redskins' starter going into 2001.

Before the 2001 season, Washington hired as head coach Marty Schottenheimer, who promised to install a West Coast scheme similar to that of Gruden in Oakland. George clashed with Schottenheimer over the offense, though the coach promised to work George through any problems he might have with the scheme. Washington released George after a 37–0 Monday Night loss to the Green Bay Packers, in which George had a 34.6 passer rating, the worst in the first two weeks of the 2001 season.[clarification needed] The Redskins were 0–2, having been outscored 67–3. George was given 24 hours to remove his personal items from the Redskins' facilities before they were discarded. He was replaced by Tony Banks, who led the team to finish the season with an 8–8 record after they had begun with a record of 0–5.

Career end

George spent time on the roster of the Seattle Seahawks in late 2002 as an emergency quarterback and the Chicago Bears in the 2004, but never took the field. George was not retained by the Bears for the 2005 season, nor was he signed by any other team. The Detroit Lions worked him out during their bye week but did not offer him a contract.

On August 28, 2006, the Oakland Raiders signed George. He was expected to compete for the third-string quarterback position. However, he was released during final cuts only five days later on September 2, 2006.

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Passing
GP GS Record Cmp Att Pct Yds Avg Lng TD Int Rtg Fum
1990 IND 13 12 5–7 181 334 54.2 2,152 6.4 75 16 13 73.8 0
1991 IND 16 16 1–15 292 485 60.2 2,910 6.0 49 10 12 73.8 8
1992 IND 10 10 6–4 167 306 54.6 1,963 6.4 57 7 15 61.5 3
1993 IND 13 11 2–9 234 407 57.5 2,526 6.2 72 8 6 76.3 3
1994 ATL 16 16 7–9 322 524 61.5 3,734 7.1 85 23 18 83.3 4
1995 ATL 16 16 9–7 336 557 60.3 4,143 7.4 62 24 11 89.5 3
1996 ATL 3 3 0–3 56 99 56.6 698 7.0 67 3 3 76.1 1
1997 OAK 16 16 4–12 290 521 55.7 3,917 7.5 76 29 9 91.2 5
1998 OAK 8 7 3–4 93 169 55.0 1,186 7.0 75 4 5 72.7 5
1999 MIN 12 10 8–2 191 329 58.1 2,816 8.6 80 23 12 94.2 7
2000 WAS 6 5 1–4 113 194 58.2 1,389 7.2 50 7 6 79.6 2
2001 WAS 2 2 0–2 23 42 54.8 168 4.0 17 0 3 34.6 0
Career[5] 131 124 46–78 2,298 3,967 57.9 27,602 7.0 85 154 113 80.4 41

Retirement

While George spent time on active NFL rosters through 2006, he had not attempted a pass since the 2001 season with the Washington Redskins. It was speculated that he might have replaced third-string quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo due to his friendship with Randy Moss. Moss has previously stated that George was his favorite of all the quarterbacks he's worked with. He has also commented in the past that he and George would take weekend fishing trips together when they both lived in Minnesota.

On October 30, 2007, during Mike and Mike in the Morning, Michael Kim in a SportsCenter update reported that George was interested in making another comeback, this time with the Minnesota Vikings, a team where he once had some success.

In November 2008, in an appearance on Sirius NFL Radio, George said, "I find it hard to believe there isn't a place in the game for me. My arm feels like I'm 25", he said. "I'm not asking to be a starter, I just want a spot on a team. I still hold out hope I can play in this league. I'm working out three or four days a week, staying ready. Some people might laugh about it. I've been hearing the excuse, 'You're too old,' but I look at guys now playing near 40, and if you can throw it like I can throw it ... Why wouldn't you take a look at me?"[6] He said of coming back: "I've been trying to figure out how to get back in, and it just amazes me that I'm not on somebody's roster. I've been throwing two or three times a week, and every time I go out there to throw, I can't believe I'm not a backup somewhere. I know it's a young man's game, but you can't tell me I'm not better than some of the quarterbacks that are out there. I look at teams like Minnesota or Chicago, and I want to scream at the people in charge, ‘What are you thinking?’"

On August 4, 2010, George announced on KFAN Sports radio in Minnesota that he would have been willing to step in for veteran QB Brett Favre if Favre had decided to retire from the Minnesota Vikings.[7]

Media

George has made occasional appearances on NFL Total Access with Rich Eisen and Terrell Davis. Following George's final seasons in the NFL, Jason Whitlock wrote several columns expressing his belief that George could still play and was deserving of an NFL try-out.[8] George and Whitlock are longtime friends, having played high school football together.[8]

References

  1. ^ "NFL Quarterback Jeff George". Arab Indianapolis. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  2. ^ "Jeff George College Stats, School, Draft, Gamelog, Splits".
  3. ^ "1990 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved May 24, 2023.
  4. ^ P.288 Peterson, Armand. The Vikings Reader. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009
  5. ^ "Jeff George Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Silver, Michael (March 27, 2009). "George still grasping for one last shot at glory – NFL – Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  7. ^ "Veteran quarterback makes pitch to replace Brett Favre | ProFootballTalk". Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. August 4, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "George deserves a shot, but does he want it?". Fox Sports. August 6, 2009. Archived from the original on August 8, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2009.