Former Panthers quarterback Chris Weinke, who enrolled at Florida State at age 26 after a minor-league baseball career, won a national championship at 27, and secured the Heisman Trophy at 28, returned to the game in 2010 after a chance meeting at a Seminoles game. He now thinks he has “the best job in the world.”
Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune explains that Weinke, ran into a staff member of the IMG Football Academy at that FSU game, laying the foundation for Weinke to become the director of the IMG Madden Football Academy, which opened in 2010.
Weinke’s name has been mentioned recently in connection with new Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and the pair have been spending plenty of time working together. But Weinke also has begun working with Vikings quarterback Joe Webb, and Weinke will begin working this week with new Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder.
“I’ll do the same thing with him [as Newton],” Weinke said. “There will be an installation of the offense, for him to get familiar with the verbiage and the concepts. We’ll take all that information and go to the field and apply all of that.”
Apart from the fact that Weinke grew up in St. Paul, he has another connection to Minnesota. Starting for the Panthers as a rookie fourth-round draft pick in 2001, Weinke beat the heavily-favored Vikings in Minnesota in his first NFL game. (The Panthers then lost 15 straight, with Weinke starting 14 of those games.)
Weinke, who also works with quarterbacks at lower levels of the game, calls his new job a “perfect fit.” The bigger question is whether — and when — an NFL team will decide that he’d be an even better fit as a quarterbacks coach.