USC fan Paragon SC wrote this excellent diary expressing concern for Matt Leinart's recent actions.
Outside of the Wonderlic debacle, overblown for sure but not without some concern, we have really heard little about Vince Young and how he is handling his future. Peter's recent post about Vince's upcoming endorsement deal has really all that has been out there.
Outside of the UT faithful, there was much criticism and gnashing of teeth over VY's hiring of family friends and inexperienced agents upon his declaration to enter the NFL draft. But to this point they has made very few waves, minimal mistakes and have kept below the radar.
There are the skeptics out there, too many to name, who have continually questioned VY's throwing motion, The Wonderlic, too much time spent in the "gun" etc, etc. But Vince has stayed the course and acted like its water off a ducks back.
This is a pleasant surprise in comparison to Matt Leinart. People are starting to question, in my opinion rightfully so, if Leinart really has the heart for the NFL. Is he more into having star power outside of his NFL career? Or can he focus on football first and the ancillary stuff later. A recent story here quotes Matt, 2nd hand, saying he would rather be drafted by the Jets because of the more lucrative endorsement deals that could come his way in the Big Apple. I'm not sure if that is having your priorities straight.
The recent firing of super agent Leigh Steinberg and the subsequent hiring of also super agent Tom Condon have left more than a few SC fans, me included, scratching their heads. I gave Leinart credit for coming back for his senior season. He left a lot of money on the table in order to go for the "3-Pete" and to hang out with his friends and teammates in an environment that was somewhat protective. Good for him! Matt knew the money would always be there so why not have one more year to enjoy himself.
Both of these guys will have good careers; it's too early to say great because we don't know where they will end up or who will shape their careers. HP had a great post on how Vince's career should pan out if the NFL uses their heads. And the conventional wisdom that Leinart will have a seamless transition to the pro level is put forth every time there is an interview about him in the MSM. There is no doubt that he is tough competitor as Peter stated here, but is he now buying a little too much into his own hype and trying to cash in a little to quickly?
We have all heard stories over the years about athletes who had the talent on the field but weren't as savvy off the field only to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous hangers on or who fell into the trappings of their youth and ended up losing everything. Many thought this would be the case with Vince. Once again he is proving his critics wrong. If I understand the story correctly, Vince grew up in a home with an absentee father but with a loving mother who went the extra mile to keep her son out of trouble and well grounded. To me it looks like her hard work, patience and love have paid off. Vince continues to impress me with his poise and humbleness. He has not bought into the hype and he understands what's at stake.
This is in stark contrast to the Leinart situation; it is not to say that Leinart doesn't have those same qualities. Believe me I do want him to succeed in the NFL. But Matt has a lot of high-powered people advising him but it is hard to succeed if you are not focused and I'm concerned that with all these outside distractions that that could be happening.
To the BON faithful this is preaching to the choir I know. But to an outsider like me I am impressed with Vince's character in this age of self-indulgence and instant gratification. I HOPE he is the one who comes to the Jets.
I have no problem with any of the money these guys are going to make. But can we please lock the football aspect down before looking over the horizon for the pot of gold. After all without football the other opportunities will dry up. Vince is doing just that, quietly without making a big splash. Even after losing to himhoe could not respect him.
Vince is proving why he truly is a treasure to the UT Faithful.
Hook 'em Vince!!