These NFL Quarterbacks Were Forgotten After Retiring

Athletes | 11/8/19

Quarterback is a glamour position in the NFL and only 32 starting QB gigs are ever available at any time. The players who stand behind center come from all different kinds of schools. Some are drafted highly, some aren’t drafted at all. But anyone who spends a fair amount of time there becomes memorable.

Once the new season rolls around and players retire, though, it can be easy to forget about them. Or to think about what they might be doing after football. Below is a list of former prominent QB’s and an update on what life is like for them now.

Tommy Maddox

tommy maddox forgotten nfl qbs
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Tommy Maddox had a strange NFL career that was chock full of perseverance. While he was a former 1st Round Pick, Maddox ended up in both the Arena Football League and the XFL before making it back to the NFL.

He was rewarded with the 2002 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award for his crazy journey. Since his departure from the NFL, Maddox has dabbled in both professional golf as well as High School coaching.

Kordell Stewart

kordell stewart forgotten nfl qbs
Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Despite a star-studded career at the University of Colorado, teams didn’t know if they could rely on Kordell Stewart to be a full-time quarterback. So he became Slash, doing a bit of everything to help the Steelers win.

Eventually, he got the full-time starter nod and was a tremendous player for Pittsburgh, winning the AFC Offensive Player of the Year Award in 2001. He’s remained in the spotlight since his playing career and was married to Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Porsha Williams.

Jesse Palmer

jesse palmer forgotten nfl qbs
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Not too many star football players hail from Canada. Toronto-born Jesse Palmer was an exception to his rule and he began his career with Steve Spurrier at the University of Florida where he split time with Doug Johnson and Rex Grossman.

Despite playing part-time in college, Palmer showed enough to be drafted into the NFL and play for 5 seasons. He followed his playing career with an appearance on ABC’s The Bachelor and is now a well respected football commentator.

Kyle Boller

kyle boller forgotten nfl qbs
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Oftentimes, Coaches and General Managers will prioritize tools over production when selecting their quarterback of the future. Kyle Boller, selected by the Ravens in 2003, was dripping with tools. The quarterback not only had elite arm strength, but he also blazed a 4.6 40.

He didn’t quite cut it as the starter for the Ravens, though, and was eventually replaced by Joe Flacco. After a stint with the Raiders, he retired. He’s done ok post-career, however, as he is now married to former Miss California Carrie Prejean.

Christian Ponder

christian ponder forgotten nfl qbs
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Christian Ponder was a hotly recruited high school QB who chose to attend Florida State. After a successful year run with the Seminoles, he was drafted 11th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2010 Draft.

He started in Minnesota for two and a half years and was a middle of the pack quarterback in the league. He lost his job in year 3, then bounced around as a backup for the next few years. During his playing days, Ponder married ESPN’s Samantha Steele and the couple lives in New York and Arizona with their children.

Jake Plummer

jake plummer forgotten nfl qbs
John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images
John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Jake “The Snake” Plummer had a storied career at Arizona State University. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2nd Round, he became a star level quarterback. He later moved on to Denver and made the 2005 Pro Bowl.

Consistent with his quirky ways, Plummer retired earlier than expected at the age of 33 in 2007. The end of his athletic career wasn’t really the end, though. Today, Plummer is an active professional handball player and made it to the Iowa 2008 state championship.

Drew Bledsoe

drew bledsoe forgotten nfl qbs
Paul Marotta/Getty Images
Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Drafted 1st overall in 1993, Drew Bledsoe was meant to lead the Patriots to the promised land. He came close, leading the team to a Superbowl in 1997, but a bad injury opened the door for Tom Brady and the rest was history.

Bledsoe then moved on to the Dallas Cowboys but was eventually replaced there by Tony Romo. The Washington native now works as a winemaker in Walla Walla, Washington. His successful Doubleback Vineyards produced a top 100 wine in Wine Spectator Magazine.

Brady Quinn

brady quinn forgotten nfl qbs
Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Few quarterback prospects have ever “looked the part” more than Brady Quinn did. Not only did he have the pedigree, Quinn often lit it up as a member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Browns selected him in the 1st Round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

It wasn’t meant to be for Quinn in the pros, though. He bounced around from team to team never quite establishing himself as a starter. The former QB has put his telegenic looks to good use and now works as an analyst for Fox Sports and is married to US gymnastics legend Alicia Sacramone.

Chris Weinke

chris weinke forgotten nfl qbs
Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There was a wave of college quarterbacks in 1990’s college football that had first tried their hand at professional baseball. The best of those quarterbacks might have been Florida State’s Chris Weinke who won the Heisman Trophy in the year 2000.

Weinke was drafted at 25 years-old by the Carolina Panthers and was an early starter. He never quite made his mark with the team and was out of the league by 2007. The former ballplayer now works as a quarterbacks coach at the University of Tennessee.

Vince Young

vince young forgotten NFL qbs
Greg McWilliams/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
Greg McWilliams/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

When football fans think about the greatest individual performances of all-time, perhaps none top the effort that Vince Young put for in the 2006 Rose Bowl. On the strength of that performance, Young was drafted 3rd overall in the 2007 NFL Draft.

For one season, at least, everything worked out perfectly and Young was the 2006 Rookie of the Year. Injuries and personal issues proved to be his undoing in the league, though, and he was out by 2011. Young has fought demons since then with two DUI’s and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy since his playing days.

Byron Leftwich

byron leftwich forgotten nfl qbs
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After putting up jaw-dropping numbers at Marshall University over his four-year career, Byron Leftwich was drafted 7th overall by Jacksonville in the 2003 draft. He soon took over at the quarterback for the Jaguars in his rookie season.

Leftwich had an ultimately disappointing run as a starting quarterback and ended his career in 2012. Since then, the quarterback has been working his way up as a coach. The former Marshall QB is now the Offensive Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Joey Harrington

joey harrington forgotten nfl qbs
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

When Joey Harrington was drafted by the Lions in the 2002 Draft, he was expected to walk right into NFL stardom. He had everything needed to be a success; experience, smarts, and a strong arm.

It never really quite worked out for Harrington in Detroit as the team was coached poorly and was severely lacking in talent. The QB bounced around the next few years to the Dolphins and Falcons. He now works as an analyst for a TV station in Portland, Oregon.

Aaron Brooks

aaron brooks forgotten nfl qbs
Streeter Lecka
Streeter Lecka

The second cousin of fellow quarterback Michael Vick, Aaron Brooks went on to play for his home state Virginia Cavaliers. He was selected in the 4th Round by the Green Bay Packers and was expected to be a nice backup.

He quickly broke out of that projection upon joining the New Orleans Saints and was later inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame. Brooks now works as a real estate developer in the James City County Virginia area.

Heath Shuler

heath shuler forgotten nfl qbs
David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images
David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images

The big question of the 1994 NFL Draft: Who would be the better quarterback, Heath Shuler or Trent Dilfer. Dilfer, though never a star, won that battle pretty handily. Shuler, who starred at the University of Tennessee was played in the NFL for 4 seasons.

The former Volunteer was a total bust for the Washington Redskins throwing 15 touchdown passes against 33 interceptions. Shuler’s career after football has been much more successful as he spent 6 years representing North Carolina’s 11th District in the US House of Representatives.

Rodney Peete

rodney peete forgotten nfl qbs
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Rodney Peete had a very successful college career at Southern Cal winning the Johnny Unitas Award and finishing 2nd in Heisman voting. He was originally selected in the 1989 Draft by the Detroit Lions. Unlike many 6th round picks, he carved out a 15-year career.

His best year came in 1990 when he tossed 13 TD’s and ran in another 6 in only 9 games. Following his career, Peete became a broadcaster. He married actress Holly Robinson and is a prominent advocate for those with Autism.

Jay Fielder

jay fiedler forgotten nfl qbs
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Jay Fiedler, who played his college football at Dartmouth, was able to make it to the NFL despite going undrafted in the draft. After bouncing around the league for a few years, he became the Miami Dolphins successor to the legendary Dan Marino.

The intelligent and capable Fiedler thrived in the role, leading the Dolphins to 3 straight 10 win seasons. He has done many different things following his career including playing professional volleyball, owning a CBA basketball team and training college quarterbacks.

Marc Bulger

marc bulger forgotten nfl qbs
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In 2003, Marc Bulger received the unenviable task of taking over at quarterback for the St. Louis Rams following the legendary run of Kurt Warner. He was up for the task at the Rams went 12-4 and Bulger made the Pro Bowl.

Injuries, though, would bedevil the quarterback in the coming years and the rest of his career. He retired shortly after going to camp with the Baltimore Ravens in 2010. Bulger has taken up competitive curling and now competes on a team with former NFL star Jared Allen.

Jake Locker

jake locker forgotten NFL qbs
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

If you were to mold the world’s perfect athlete, it might come out something like Jake Locker. The two-sport star played outfield in the Los Angeles Angels minor league system and was drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the 8th pick of the 2011 draft.

Locker’s football career was derailed by a team with little talent and frequent injuries. He was retired by 2014, saying he lacked the desire to play football anymore. He now lives in his hometown of Ferndale, Washington and co-owns a fitness center.

Tim Couch

tim couch nfl forgotten qbs
David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images
David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images

Tim Couch electrified the college sports world by putting up huge numbers at the University of Kentucky. He was selected number 1 overall by the expansion Cleveland Browns in the 1999 draft.

Couch was able to have some success in Cleveland including a playoff appearance during the 2002 season. Injuries and a lack of team talent disrupted his career, though. Couch has worked as a broadcaster for many years since and has recently been calling games for the Browns.

Billy Volek

billy volek forgotten nfl qbs
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Not much was expected of Billy Volek. Following his college career at Fresno State, the QB was signed by the Tennessee Titans as a free agent in 2000. While he made the team as a backup, he was stuck behind the durable Steve McNair.

But eventually, Volek got his shot and for 10 weeks and lit up the NFL. In 2004, he became only the 3rd QB to throw for 400 yards in consecutive games and won plenty of team fantasy football championships. Volek is now a High School coach at Maranatha Christian in California.