After 16 seasons, former Jets quarterback Josh McCown has officially closed his NFL chapter.
McCown was first drafted by the Cardinals out of Sam Houston State in the third round of the 2002 draft and wrapped up his career with the Green & White in 2018, his 10th team.
“I guess it just goes to show that you don’t always get to choose your own path. But looking back, I’m proud of how my career has gone,” he said via The Players’ Tribune. “I don’t shy away from the journeyman label. I embrace it, full force. Because it’s been one heck of a journey. And now, strange as it feels to say, after 17 years … that journey is coming to an end.”
The 39-year-old McCown joined the Jets in 2017 and was the team’s Curtis Martin Team MVP that year as he set season career-highs with 2,926 yards passing and 18 touchdowns. His 67.3 completion percentage ranked third in the NFL when he broke his hand in Week 13 and he also had a personal-best five touchdowns on the ground, tying for first among quarterbacks at the time he was placed on injured reserve.
But one could make the argument that he was even more valuable in his second season in New York as he was the right-hand man for then-rookie signal-caller Sam Darnold.
“There is nothing like playing, but when you can share your experience and give it to somebody else on their journey, I think that has value beyond cost,” McCown said in January. “I’ll always appreciate that time.”
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Earlier this year, McCown said he planned to spend time with his wife, Natalie, and four kids — Bridget, Aubrey, Aiden and Owen — before making a decision on his future.
“When you decide to retire, your whole football life kind of flashes before your eyes,” he said. “And in it, you see all the people who played a role in making your career possible. Like my wife, Natalie. … I can’t say enough about the role Natalie played in my career. Nothing would have been possible without her. She’s Superwoman.”
For his career, McCown completed 60.2% of his passes for 17,707 yards with 98 touchdowns and 82 interceptions.
“At the end of the day, no matter what team I was on, I tried to serve it to the best of my ability, and I tried to influence my team in a positive manner. I hope I did that,” he said. “And I made sure that when my number was called, I was prepared, and I gave it everything I had, every time.
“I may not have turned out to be the franchise quarterback I set out to be back at Cardinals rookie camp, but I’m extremely proud of the career I had.”