The Man of Many Jerseys: Josh McCown


On July 4, 1979, the 81st pick in the 2002 NFL Draft was born. Josh McCown was born in a small town called Jacksonville in Texas. Josh grew up a Cowboys fan and got his inspiration from their Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. Both of McCown’s brothers were also quarterbacks, one of them (Luke) was able to go to the NFL and his other brother (Randy) was able to go to the Division I college Texas A&M to quarterback there. McCown attended Jacksonville High School and earned the honors of All-State Honorable and East Texas Player of the Year.

In college McCown attended three years for the SMU Mustangs. During his time at SMU, he put up 4,022 yards and 27 touchdowns. He set the school record for consecutive completions in 1999 against Tulsa. During that game, he threw for nineteen straight complete passes.

During McCown’s senior year he transferred to Sam Houston State.  He threw for 3,481 yards and 32 touchdowns. This is almost as good as his stats during his three years at SMU.  McCown went on to break the school’s passing completions, attempts, yards, and touchdowns. During his senior season, McCown was also named SFL Player of the Year and earned First Team All-SFL honors. He was then later on named on the Third Team Division I-AA All American. After his senior season, he was able to achieve the honor of being named in the top sixteen to be voted for the Walter Payton Award. McCown played quarterback in the Senior Bowl and was named to the Sam Houston Athletic Hall of Honor in 2013.

McCown was drafted into the NFL in 2002 by the Arizona Cardinals. During the draft, NFL scouts couldn’t predict when he would be drafted. Going into his rookie season, McCown would be named as the team’s second string quarterback. He would later make his NFL debut after the Cardinals were getting destroyed mid way through a game on December 1, 2002. In the 2003 NFL season, McCown was still the backup quarterback for the first thirteen games. Finally, on December 7 of the 2003 season, it was announced that the team would be playing both their starting quarterback Jeff Blake and Josh McCown. During that game, McCown played the whole second half and went 11 for 20 and had 120 yeards with two touchdowns.  For the final three games of the season, he was named the starter. In the 2005 NFL season, Josh McCown became a free agent because Arizona  signed future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner the previous season.

In March of 2006, McCown would sign a two year deal with the Detroit Lions. He would be Jon Kitna’s backup through the whole 2006 season. During that season he actually started to learn wide receiver and played as one in just one play against the Cardinals. He also had a thirty-one yard reception, but was sadly called back for pass interference. On April 28, 2007, Josh McCown and wide receiver Mike Williams would be traded for a fourth round pick to the Oakland Raiders.

In the 2007 season McCown’s biggest opponent would be Daunte Culpepper for the starting position. McCown would later be named starter for Week 1. During that season he was the final winner of the NFL Quarterback Challenge. After that, he would become a free agent.

Before the 2008 season McCown would sign a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. Right before the first regular season game, McCown got traded to the Carolina Panthers. During the 2008 season he was the backup for Jake Delhomme. In the 2009 season, McCown was once again the team’s main backup. He would be a free agent in 2010.

Josh McCown joined the United Football League in 2010. He would play for the Hartford Colonials. McCown during this time was actually offered a contract to play with the NFL Chicago Bears but would decline to keep loyal with his contract. He played as the team’s captain and had a passer rating of 79.3, the highest in the whole league.

At the beginning of the 2011, he signed a deal with the San Francisco 49ers. McCown would be cut at the beginning of September. Towards the end of November, the Chicago Bears would finally be able to sign McCown. McCown would get his first start for the Bears on the Christmas Day game against the Green Bay Packers. For the 2012 season he re-signed with Chicago Bears. During this year his number changed from 12 to 15 because wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who wore number 12, joined the team earlier.

Even though McCown was an unrestricted free agent in 2013, he was re-signed with the Bears again. On November 4, McCown would end up starting the game because  Jay Cutler was injured. In Week 12 McCown broke a franchise record of 36 passes with 352 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. In Week 14 McCown was named NFC Player of the Week, with a career-high four touchdowns for 348 yards. During this season McCown was named to the USA Today All-Joe Team and received the Brian Piccolo Award by the Bears organization.

In 2014, he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was named the team’s starting quarterback as soon as he came into the organization. Even though he was the team’s captain, he would later be released for the next season.

For the 2015 NFL season Josh McCown signed a three year deal with the Cleveland Browns. At the beginning of the season he was the team’s starter. In Week 5, McCown was awarded with the AFC Player of the Week after throwing for a Browns record 457 yards. During this game he would become the first NFL player to throw for more than 450 yards,  have two passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and have zero interceptions. Within this season, he was the Browns’ nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. In the 2016 McCown was replaced as team starter for Robert Griffin, III, but after Griffin got hurt in Week 1, McCown was named the team’s starter again. In early February of 2017, McCown was cut from the team.

Now McCown is on the New York Jets, where he is the mentor for the team’s future star Sam Darnold. Early on with the Jets,  he had to fight with Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty for the starting position in the 2017 season. At this point McCown would be 38 years old but  still putting up solid numbers. In Week 13, he would be named AFC Player of the Week. That season he would be awarded Doug Martin Jets Team MVP. This season he signed a one year deal with the team. He is the team’s main backup and is teaching rookie quarterback Sam Darnold how to play to the best of his ability.