VERO BEACH, Fla. — Vince Young completed his first workout with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Tuesday, with head coach Chris Jones giving the former NFL quarterback a passing grade.
“I thought he did a real nice job,” Jones said following the club’s first day of mini-camp. ”For the first time being on a CFL field, and we threw a lot at him … I thought Vince had a good day.”
The spotlight is squarely upon Young, who’s mounting a football comeback with the Roughriders. The 33-year-old, twice a Pro Bowl quarterback in the NFL, hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2011 and has been out of football since 2014.
And Young is attempting to come back playing Canadian football on a longer, wider surface with one less down and one more player on the field. But the six-foot-five, 232-pound former Texas star said his biggest adjustment was delivering the football on time.
“You’ve got to be on time with your balls, especially when you’re going to the wide side of the field,” he told reporters. “That goes back to your reads and progressions.
“I think that was the (biggest) thing, making sure when you throw those long balls know you can’t put a lot of heat on it. You’ve got to get it out there because it’s a long way.”
Young led Texas to 30-2 record over his three seasons as a starter, leading the school to a 41-38 victory over the USC Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl, which that year was the NCAA title game.
Young went in the first round, third overall, in the Tennessee Titans. After starting 13 games that season, he was named NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.
Tennessee released Young in July of 2011. He had stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Cleveland before being released by the Browns in May 2014. He retired the following month.
Since then, Young worked at his alma mater while also doing television work for the Longhorn Network.
“I’m just happy to be here, hanging out and laughing with the guys,” Young said. “A lot of guys gave me a lot of respect and the (defensive backs) were talking noise: ‘We’re going to pick you off, V.Y.’
“We’re having a good time. I love that and I did miss that.”
However, Young feels he has to earn a spot at the Riders’ training camp.
“Oh yeah, I’ve got to work,” Young said. “And me, I don’t mind doing that.
“My energy was good. The things I was doing at home, training and taking notes from coach, things he wanted me to work on actually paid off. Thank God I did them and paid attention.”
The Canadian Press