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Packers sign QB Vince Young

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By Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
August 6, 2013

GREEN BAY--Not willing to wait a minute longer, the Green Bay Packers moved quickly to shore up a shaky backup quarterback position.

According to a league source, the Packers signed free agent quarterback Vince Young to a one-year deal believed to be worth the league minimum. The signing came shortly after Young worked out in front of members of the personnel department.

The Packers were on the phone with Young’s agent, Jerry Marlatt, shortly after No. 3 quarterback B.J. Coleman threw two interceptions in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage Saturday night at Lambeau Field. Coleman has had a bad first week of training camp and the Packers decided to cover their bases right away.

The Packers chose Young, 30, over other free agent quarterbacks such as Tyler Thigpen, Matt Leinart, Byron Leftwich, John Beck and Jordan Palmer. They knew they couldn’t wait much longer on Young because he is athletically superior to the others and has started 47 games in the NFL.

He was probably first or second on most team’s emergency lists.

Young will make a base salary of $840,000 if he makes the team, but this late into the year and with no other teams interested at this point, it’s almost a certainty he did not receive a signing bonus or guaranteed money, so it is costing the Packers nothing to look at him.

Young is coming in with the presumption that he will have a shot at the No. 2 spot and that he is not just a body to help the defense prepare for San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and other read-option offenses. The Packers have pursued him as someone who could possibly make the roster and back up Aaron Rodgers.

Whether Young plays in the preseason opener Friday against Arizona will depend on how quickly he absorbs the offense. He played in a West Coast-style offense under Andy Reid in Philadelphia, but the majority of his experience is in a different scheme.

After seven practices and an intrasquad scrimmage, the Packers decided they needed a veteran to compete behind Rodgers. They know what they have in Graham Harrell, the backup last year, but they were expecting more out of Coleman, and Young’s signing is a clear signal to both men that the team is not satisfied.

In the scrimmage, Coleman completed 9-of-18 passes for 100 yards and the two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by cornerback James Nixon, who stepped in front of a poorly timed, telegraphed throw. The other came on a fade to cornerback Jeremy Ross in the corner of the end zone. The ball was underthrown, and cornerback Brandon Smith leaped high and pulled it in.

“I thought the first one was poor,” McCarthy said after the scrimmage. “I had a chance to talk to him. The second one was a jump ball and really didn’t give him a chance. He did some good things, but the two turnovers was obviously the black eye for B.J. Coleman.”

Young, the No. 3 pick overall in the 2006 draft, is known for his scrambling style and big arm. He had an up-and-down career, never quite recapturing the form that led Texas to a Rose Bowl victory and national championship in ’06.

At his best, he led Tennessee to a string of comeback victories his rookie season, the playoffs in ’07 and eight victories in the 10 games he started in ’09. He finished third in the voting for comeback player of the year in ’09, having lost his starting job to Kerry Collins during the ’08 season.

Young threw 32 touchdowns and 39 interceptions over his first four seasons before having his first statistically sound year in 2010, posting a 98.6 passer rating while throwing for 10 touchdowns with three interceptions.

He was released in July 2011 and quickly signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to serve as their backup. It was then that he made the infamous remarks about the Eagles being a “dream team.” They finished 8-8 despite having signed numerous high-priced players.

Young spent training camp last summer with the Buffalo Bills but was released after completing only 48.1 percent of his passes for 276 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions in the preseason. He also rushed seven times for 39 yards.

Before being released by the Bills it was reported that Young was having deep financial troubles despite earning $25.7 million in guaranteed money from the Titans. He defaulted on a $1.9 million loan he took out during the player lockout in 2011 but said he wasn’t involved in the transaction

He sued his former agents, one of whom is his uncle, claiming that they misappropriated $5.5 million of his earnings. The agents claim Young was the one who spent the money

Undoubtedly, the Packers spent time researching Young’s situation and seeing where his head was as a result of the financial difficulties. They know he is hungry to make a roster, if for no other reason than to help his financial situation.

Down time

There had been a practice scheduled Monday, but it turns out that McCarthy had planned all along to hold a “team-building” exercise.

The players and coaches used the day to engage in a group activity.

Practice will resume at 8:20 a.m. today and is open to the public.

On the clock

It is getting close to decision time with safety Sean Richardson, who had offseason surgery to fuse two vertebrae.

Richardson’s agent, Brian Parker, said Monday that McCarthy’s recent comments that the team was waiting for all the opinions from specialists to come in before deciding how to proceed, was accurate. He declined to comment further.

Richardson is on the physically unable to perform list. He would like to continue his career, but the Packers want to be sure it is safe for him to play before they clear him.



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