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So long, Jon Kitna

Justin Smith, Jon Kitna AP

Jon Kitna made the NFL as an undrafted free agent on the Seahawks in 1997. 15 seasons after being Warren Moon’s backup, Kitna is ready to retire at the age of 39.

Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reports that Kitna has informed Cowboys officials that he’s ready to call it quits. His contract was up and he finished the season on injured reserve with a back injury.

That will conclude a solid three-year run as Tony Romo’s backup. Kitna actually played well enough last year in nine starts to briefly inspire some debate over Romo’s status as starter.

Kitna finished with 16 touchdowns, 12 picks, and 7.4 yards-per-attempt a year ago. He started 124 games total with the Seahawks, Bengals, Lions, and Cowboys, totaling 169 touchdowns with 165 interceptions. He won the AP Comeback Player of the Year award in 2003 with the Bengals.

Kitna was part of a few memorable moments in recent NFL history. He replaced Carson Palmer in the “Kimo Von Oelhoffen” playoff loss. He started the first four games of Detroit’s 0-16 season before getting hurt.

And so now we say goodbye to Kitna, after writing a retirement post that got longer than expected and has no natural conclusion.

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38 Responses to “So long, Jon Kitna”
  1. brian1mahoney says: Jan 12, 2012 5:56 PM

    Kitna was always entertaining to watch and provided some memorable moments for Seahawk fans here in Seattle. He was kind of a gunslinger, and never backed down from any opponent.

  2. 32bigg says: Jan 12, 2012 5:56 PM

    Ha! Great ending.

  3. tfbuckfutter says: Jan 12, 2012 5:58 PM

    Let’s not forget that he came closer to a .500 season in Detroit than anyone else in the 2000s and after finishing 7-9 there was actually a glimmer of hope in Detroit.

    If he hadn’t gone down with an injury, they never would have finished 0-16…..and probably never would have gotten Matt Stafford…..How different does the league look with Stafford in St. Louis or Kansas City?

  4. garyman1 says: Jan 12, 2012 5:58 PM

    Enjoyed the ending to your post….

    By the way, I always thought Kitna was a better than average QB when he was with the Lions. He just had so few players around him.

  5. ecnasty says: Jan 12, 2012 6:01 PM

    Thanks Jon. Nothing but best wishes for your future. Stay classy.

  6. Bubby Brister says: Jan 12, 2012 6:05 PM

    Always liked Kitna. I’m not sure how much it would mean to him, but he’d be a shoe-in if there was a Steve Deberg Hall of Fame for Backup Quarterbacks (seriously).

  7. august1969 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:12 PM

    I always rooted for that guy. Time to chill now Kitna.

  8. tayloner says: Jan 12, 2012 6:13 PM

    Here’s to ya Kitna. You were an above average QB for solid stretches throughout your career, and after taking over for Romo last year you showed some leadership, toughness and competitiveness that I didn’t know you had. All the best on a career well done. Still wish you hadn’t guaranteed 10 wins for the Lions that one year, though.

  9. mustyoldclapptrap says: Jan 12, 2012 6:13 PM

    Jon Kitna… slightly better than Joey Harrington.

  10. bunsmalloy says: Jan 12, 2012 6:18 PM

    During his 2+ seasons with the Lions, I almost had a stroke on 5 seperate occasions, and I was around 30 years old at the time.

  11. derfshambeaux says: Jan 12, 2012 6:18 PM

    Yeah best ending I’ve seen

  12. tdhawk says: Jan 12, 2012 6:19 PM

    If that list of teams isn’t a back injury waiting to happen, I don’t know what is. I’m a Cowboys fan and still cannot get out of my head the day as Lions QB he roasted Dallas. He was a solid QB, undone ultimately by the sucky teams for which he played.

    Congrats Jon on getting out ALIVE! Seriously, good job, you were a pro.

  13. brenenostler says: Jan 12, 2012 6:28 PM

    Called this one

  14. brenenostler says: Jan 12, 2012 6:28 PM

    Next is mark brunell

  15. earthtopft says: Jan 12, 2012 6:36 PM

    Kitna will now return to the homeland of his ancestors to try to locate the lost “h” that has been troubling him all these years.

  16. pats1995 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:44 PM

    THIS POST’s FOR JON

  17. rando74 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:51 PM

    Go with God bro. thats what you want and good luck to you. Enjoy retirement you definitely earned it.

  18. spellingcops says: Jan 12, 2012 6:52 PM

    pats1995 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:44 PM

    THIS POST’s FOR JON
    —————————————————–
    I wish I could thumbs up 1000 times for this comment.

  19. raider23mike says: Jan 12, 2012 7:26 PM

    Why would he quit? He’s just a backup. That’s like getting a free paycheck.

    Just ask Kyle Boller

  20. raiderstotheship says: Jan 12, 2012 7:53 PM

    Jon Kitna is a very underated qb, and always a positive attitude. So long buddy!

  21. cst1986 says: Jan 12, 2012 7:58 PM

    Thanks for the good times Krazy legs.

  22. jebdamone says: Jan 12, 2012 8:09 PM

    always enjoyed the way Kitna played the game. happy retirement to you sir.

  23. nflfan877 says: Jan 12, 2012 8:12 PM

    I always like Kitna. Amazing he got 124 starts — couldn’t believe that when I read that.

  24. cardmagnet says: Jan 12, 2012 8:14 PM

    I always admired his fire and competitiveness.

  25. rwhited2 says: Jan 12, 2012 8:42 PM

    If the majority of the Dallas Cowboys team had half of the heart and competitivenes that Kitna does, they wouldn’t be sitting at home right now watching the playoffs. Enjoy your retirement Jon, you will be missed

  26. rajbais says: Jan 12, 2012 8:44 PM

    Congrats on a great career, Jon!!!!

    To me, his career highlight was helping the Bengals snap the Chiefs 9-0 record in 2003.

  27. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Jan 12, 2012 8:57 PM

    I enjoyed Kitna’s five years here in Cincinnati. I respected him for being openly Christian with the Cross hats, etc. (he didn’t get slammed for it like Tebow does for some reason) He was a good person and teammate.

    As a player, his downfalls were his small hands and his tendency for at least one boneheaded play every game. But he was certainly good enough to start in many cities and pretty accurate. Enjoy your retirement Jon.

  28. j0esixpack says: Jan 12, 2012 9:00 PM

    “And so now we say goodbye to Kitna, after writing a retirement post that got longer than expected and has no natural conclusion…”

    The natural conclusion is numerous fans expressing their admiration and appreciation of a 15 year, 30,000 yard career in which he quietly did his best to help his team win at every opportunity.

  29. rollteal says: Jan 12, 2012 9:03 PM

    Better to blow out then to fade away.

  30. seahawkhuskyfan says: Jan 12, 2012 9:06 PM

    From Central Washington to the NFL on nothing but hard work and guts!! Every father should hope their sons plays with such desire.

    Came into the NFL with class and left with Class.

  31. istillhatemillen says: Jan 12, 2012 9:09 PM

    You forgot to mention the time he dressed as Wendy for Halloween after Joe Cullen went through the drive thru naked.

  32. neer music says: Jan 12, 2012 9:54 PM

    much respect for your career, sir. never played for my team, but you gotta love a long tenured professional who’s spanned a few eras of pro football.

    enjoy retirement, and be proud of your body of work!

  33. qdeathstar says: Jan 12, 2012 10:23 PM

    John Kitna has got to be most famous back up ever, I’m not a fan of any of the teams he played for, but I’m sad to see him go. I heard the
    Redskins were calling him

  34. johnnycash19 says: Jan 12, 2012 10:25 PM

    Great guy, but a great back up.

    He threw the ball to the other team WAY to often for my liking, but again, great guy. I had the chance of meeting him before thanksgiving, he was just walking through the mall like he was a normal guy.

  35. Mr. Wright 212 says: Jan 12, 2012 10:27 PM

    So long, Jon. Great guy.

  36. citnetter says: Jan 13, 2012 9:16 AM

    Damn, there goes my 2013 fantasy football season!!

  37. mjkelly77 says: Jan 13, 2012 3:49 PM

    I think Kitna’s finest hour was when he showed up at a Halloween party dressed as Lions assistant coach Joe Cohen. Cohen went through a fast food drive through window while naked.

    Kitna had the naked skin costume on and Kitna’s wife was dressed like a fast food worker. It would have been better the other way around.

  38. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jan 14, 2012 11:47 PM

    Thought Kitna did a great job replacing Romo last year. I liked the way he threw down the field better than Romo IMO.

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