It's not official yet, but it sure looks like another former NFL star is heading back to high school football.
As first reported by the Tacoma News Tribune, Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln High alumnus and longtime NFL quarterback Jon Kitna officially began a part-time teaching position at the school on Monday. While nothing is official, it's widely believed that Kitna -- who is known to have applied for the football coaching position -- will become the next head coach at the school he once graduated from.
"Nothing is set in stone," a source told the News Tribune, "but you can connect the dots."
Those dots include prior comments from school administrators that "in-building applicants" will be given priority to fill the open coaching position. Now that Kitna is an in-building applicant -- he is officially a math teacher at the school as of Monday -- one would assume that makes him an ideal fit.
Kitna retired after 15 NFL seasons (with Seattle, Cincinnati, Detroit and Dallas) earlier in January at the end of the 2011-12 regular season. He finished with 169 career touchdowns, but he told the News Tribune that he and his wife were convinced their true calling was to teach and coach football at the high school level.
"My wife and I always felt like these years in the NFL have prepared us for what our real calling in life is going to be as teachers and running a high school football program," Kitna told The News Tribune in December. "I don't think there's anything that has changed from that. God has used my time in the NFL to train me to be ready to train young men to be authentic, real leaders, and to have a positive impact on society. And I want to use the avenue of football to do that. So I am very clear, and my wife is very clear in our calling."
Comments like that have made Kitna's move back to Washington largely well received, though at least one commenter on the News Tribune's Prep Blog questioned the ethics of creating a position for someone who has already made a significant fortune in his life, all while others wait in line for any full-time teaching positions.
"I get it, it's Jon Kitna, he will be a great asset to the football program at Lincoln, but I think it is ridiculous that he automatically gets a teaching job when there are tons of teachers out there trying to get job day after day," News Tribune user Bosox44 commented on the blog. "And a guy that doesn't need the money and didn't even have to try for the job gets it. He is taking a career away from someone.
"I get that he has to have a life after football but he got the teaching job because of his name. If he wants to coach then fine but leave the teaching job to someone who deserves/needs it, someone who I assume has been searching for a long time, not because they aren't fully qualified but because there just aren't enough teaching jobs out there."
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