“Am I making something worthwhile out of this place? Am I making something worthwhile out of this chase? I am displaced.”
Lyric from: Displaced from the album Azure Ray
Written by: Maria Taylor, Orenda Fink
Performed by: Azure Ray
Bottom line: In this life, nothing is promised. I should also mention that nothing in life is easy or free. Oh and also, if nothing is ventured, nothing will be gained.
But again, nothing is promised. We set goals. We figure out what it will take to reach those goals and we get busy doing those things. We do those things without any direct knowledge that our efforts will, in fact, yield the results we want. So as a consolation to our non-omniscience, we cling to the belief that what our efforts will do for sure is prepare us for whatever awesome opportunity the universe sends our way even if that awesome thing is different from the goals we set early on.
Apparently at an early age, Rex Grossman and Jason Campbell set their sights on being starting quarterbacks in the National Football League. Sure, they probably played other sports and had other interests but my guess is that eventually NFL quarterback muscled its way to top of their wish lists. And their lofty, #1 goal was not void of their dedication and focus. Their efforts earned them great successes during their climbs to secure the golden nugget at the top of their lists.
Grossman was named as Indiana’s top recruit in 1998 by USA Today and was a top 15 recruit as noted by the National Recruiting Advisor. After a redshirt freshman year at Florida, Grossman was named the starter in 2000 and went on to lead the Gators to an SEC Championship and earned the Most Valuable Player designation in that championship game. He finished his college career as the third most efficient passer in SEC History. After graduating from Taylorsville High School in, where else but, Taylorsville, Mississippi, Campbell went on to play for Auburn. He led the Tigers to an undefeated season in his senior year in 2004 and was named the SEC Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the SEC Championship game. He holds the record for the third longest touchdown pass in Auburn football history.
Rex Grossman was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the NFL draft in 2003. Jason Campbell was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2005.
So many things in common here, two guys start out with the same goal. They both play college ball in what is arguably college football’s toughest conference, the SEC. They find identical successes in that conference, both earning MVP in SEC Championship games. Both were drafted in the first round and, neither is currently on the roster for the team that drafted them. Last week Grossman started at quarterback for the Redskins, Campbell’s old job in fact. Last week Campbell started at quarterback for the Raiders. But unfortunately, this week, neither quarterback will start for their respective team.
It’s sad really. They’ve met their goals. They’ve risen to top of the ranks of NFL royalty in the coveted role of starting QB but NFL life ain’t been no crystal stair…
It might be best described as a coal stair for these guys…
Since being drafted by Da Bears in 2003, Grossman has shown little evidence of the record-setting efficiency that he displayed in college. He has also shown little evidence of durability. Injuries plenty sidelined him in Chicago and football fans wondered aloud if Coach Lovie Smith was a fool to hitch his wagon to Rex’s star. Towards the end of his tenure in Chicago, whether or not Grossman would be replaced as the starting quarterback seemed to be the dominating theme during the Bears’ press conferences. He ended his time there as a backup to Kyle Orton. He continued on in the not-at-all coveted role of backup in a stint with the Texans in 2009 and was brought into Washington in 2010 for that same purpose. But after the Redskins shipped McNabb out Grossman was the man again. Until he wasn’t. The Redskins were being touted as the pleasant surprise of this season, a team with a real chance to make some noise. Then Grossman threw 4 picks in last week’s loss, throwing away his job security in the process. Coach Shanahan named John Beck the starting QB for this week.
At Auburn, Jason Campbell played for a different offensive coordinator each year. Who knew that it would start a trend? He had four coordinators in Washington. New hope arrived with each new coordinator. We were all waiting to be reminded of the reason why the Redskins traded up in the draft to get him. But alas, that reminder never came. Campbell landed in Oakland in 2010 and was expected to help the team finally erase the memory of the mistake that was JaMarcus Russell. After his first season with the Raiders best described as non-losing but playoff-less, Campbell came into this season with no real challenge to his assumption of starting quarterback. The Raiders have a new energy under new head coach Hue Jackson and new hope to spring eternal in Raider fans. But a week after losing their Hall of Fame owner Al Davis and winning a dramatic game against Houston in which the team seemed inspired to win in Davis’ honor, Campbell breaks his collarbone in Week 6 and will likely be out at least 6 weeks.
Sadder yet is the sense that this is it for these guys. Grossman always seems to be a bad throw away from being benched. And the Raiders went and got Carson Palmer from the Bengals this week and you don’t go get a guy like that so that he can be your backup QB. Tomorrow as these two quarterbacks watch their teams take the field without them under center, you hope that they remember that nothing is promised, nothing in life is free or easy and without anything ventured nothing is gained.
They’ll likely be reminded of another popular adage as well-it’s hard to get to the top but harder yet to stay there.