Shutdown Corner - NFL

For the first time this year, the people at EA Sports elected to put a retired player on the cover of their Madden video game. Unbeknownst to them, they almost did the same thing last year. Vince Young was ready to quit football after his rookie year.

He doesn't go into great detail about the reasons, but he did tell Thomas George of NFL.com that things were once so bad for him that retirement was a viable option.

"I really thought long and hard about it. There was so much going on with my family. It was crazy being an NFL quarterback. It wasn't fun anymore. All of the fun was out of it. All of the excitement was gone. All I was doing was worrying about things.

If nothing else, it's a reminder that we never, ever really know what's going on with our favorite athletes. Or anyone, really. Being rich, being famous, being idolized, being on the cover of Madden ... none of it guarantees that a guy won't be sitting at home crying his eyes out and listening to, I don't know, Elliott Smith albums or something.

If he even considered walking away from life in the NFL, whatever pain or frustration he was experiencing had to be pretty profound. It's probably Merril Hoge's fault.

Young's feeling better about things now, though.

"My teammates helped lift me out of it. I prayed really hard. And I began to focus on God's calling for me. Play football. Be a role model."

That's good to hear. And I suppose this post wouldn't be complete without mention of these pictures that made the rounds recently. I never paid them much attention here, because I didn't think they were that big of a deal. He's sweaty, he's shirtless, he's drinking. He's allowed. More than half of the posts I'll make today will be in the same condition.

It's odd to think, though, that if the same pictures had surfaced a year ago, and they got the same attention, it might have been the thing that pushed Vince Young into an extremely early retirement.

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