So we’re taking a closer look at the latest effort by quarterback Jeff George to return to the NFL, and we’re told that the effort has been sparked by video of a recent workout that already is making the rounds in the NFL and the UFL.
The tape was created roughly three weeks ago, showing George throwing to incoming freshman at Illinois. We’re told that Illinois head coach Ron Zook was blown away by the performance, and he began beating the bushes to get George a second chance.
“I coached against him when I was in the National Football League, and
he was out there just throwing the ball around and I was like, ‘Holy
smokes.’ He looked like he did when I coached against him,” Zook told IlliniHQ.com. “He was throwing the ball on the money. He can
throw all the balls. He looks about 25 years old, and I was very
impressed with where he is right now.”
We’re in the process of getting a copy of the video, and maybe we’ll figure out a way to post some of it here.
Meanwhile, we’re hearing that some NFL scouts have responded to the video very favorably.
That said, George still faces an uphill battle. He’s 41, and his reputation for not being a team player continues to resonate.
As one league source told us told, “Regardless of his skill set, he was hated by his teammates and was never a leader.”
Still, the positive aspect of being 41 is that George necessarily has matured. So if a guy who admitted to involvement in dogfighting and gambling and killing dogs in all sorts of grotesque and arguably psychopathic ways can get another chance, maybe Jeff George should, too.
We’re not saying he should be signed to a contract or given a starting job. But if he has been able to persuade Zook, a former defensive coordinator in the NFL, that George still has it, George should get a fair chance to show what he can do.
As a reader pointed out in the comments, it’s at a minimum ironic that the Vikings currently are sniffing around 39-going-on-60-year-old Brett Favre less than two years after Minnesota coach Brad Childress scoffed at signing George, saying that describing George as being on the downside of his career would be kind, and suggesting that George go to a “fantasy camp or something.”
There’s actually a not-so-laughable argument to be made that George — who clearly wants to play — has more left in the tank than the guy who still doesn’t know what the hell he wants to do.