After 17 years as a self-professed “journeyman quarterback” with eight different teams, the NY Jets backup QB Josh McCown announced his retirement from professional football and that he would be joining ESPN.

Josh McCown
Josh McCown on the sidelines as a backup QB for the NY Jets last season at MetLife Stadium. (Image: Getty)

McCown, 39, turns 40 in July and decided it was time to call it quit. ESPN hired him as an analyst. After the success of Tony Romo in the booth for CBS the last two seasons, ESPN is eager to add a quarterback’s perspective to their coverage.

McCown grew up 130 miles southeast of Dallas in a small town in East Texas. As the best high school quarterback in the county, McCown grew up as one of those local celebrities and Texas HS legends. He played his collegiate ball at Sam Houston State before heading to the NFL.

Hometown: Jacksonville, TX
College: Sam Houston State
Draft: 3rd Round, 2002 NFL Draft
Position: QB
Stats: 98 TD, 82 INT, 17,707 yards
Teams: Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, Bears, Bucs, Browns, Jets

The Arizona Cardinals drafted him out of the third round in the 2002 NFL Draft. He spent four years with the Cardinals and finally got the job as the starter in 2004. He spent time at ten different organizations, but he’s play for eight total teams in the NFL mostly as a backup.

Mentoring Darnold

McCown spent the last two seasons with the New York Jets. He considered retiring at the end of the 2017 season after he broke his leg. However, the Jets convinced him to come back for another season to help mentor their top-draft pick Sam Darnold.

McCown took Darnold under his wing, but he realized halfway through preseason that the kid from USC had enough skills to play in the league right away. The Jets named Darnold the opening-day starter with McCown as the backup.

“It was just awesome to be able to learn and watch him,” said Sam Darnold.

McCown started four games for the Jets when Darnold missed a couple of games due to a sprained foot.

“I guess it just goes to show that you don’t always get to choose your own path,” McCown wrote on the Players Tribune. “But looking back, I’m proud of how my career has gone. I don’t shy away from the journeyman label. I embrace it, full force. Because it’s been one heck of a journey.”

The Jets hired Adam Gase to help take Darnold to the next level as a young quarterback. They also added Trevor Siemian as Darnold’s backup.

Most recently, tight end Jason Whitten unretired and returned to the Dallas Cowboys after a year as an analyst for Monday Night Football.


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