Josh McCown’s wild ride: 15 years, 10 teams and a link to Emmitt Smith

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When people talk about Josh McCown, they often describe him as a great mentor before mentioning his ability as a quarterback. Some might perceive that as a backhanded compliment. Not McCown.

“Anytime somebody refers to you as great at something, it’s always a positive thing,” he said last week after his first New York Jets OTA practice. “I understand what you’re saying. Obviously, nobody says, ‘I want to play for 10 teams in my career and move all over the place.’ But at the same time, I’ve played 15 years and I’m very proud of that. This is the journey that was set out for me.”

What a journey it has been. Consider these factoids about his career:

  • Barring an injury, McCown will become the sixth player in NFL history to throw a pass for seven teams, according to Elias. He would join Jeff Blake, Steve Bono, Chris Chandler, Gus Frerotte and Vinny Testaverde on the list. Former Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, now a backup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, could join the group as well.
  • McCown has played for nine head coaches and 11 offensive coordinators, not counting preseason stints with the Miami Dolphins (2008) and San Francisco 49ers (2011). The head coaches: Dave McGinnis (Arizona Cardinals), Dennis Green (Cardinals), Rod Marinelli (Detroit Lions), Lane Kiffin (Oakland Raiders), John Fox (Carolina Panthers), Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears and Bucs), Marc Trestman (Bears), Mike Pettine (Cleveland Browns) and Hue Jackson (Browns). Todd Bowles will be No. 10.
  • McCown and Julius Peppers (Panthers) are the only two players from the 2002 draft still on active rosters. The Jets host the Panthers on Nov. 26 in what could be a battle of the ’02 survivors and former teammates.
  • McCown was the quarterback who gave Emmitt Smith the final handoff of his legendary career. It was Jan. 2, 2005, for the Cards. (Yes, kids, the great running back closed out his career with a forgettable season in the desert.) For the record, Smith lost 2 yards on the play, so he finished with 18,355 rushing yards — the most in NFL history.
  • McCown was indirectly impacted by the Jets’ trade for Brett Favre in 2008. When the Jets acquired Favre, they released Chad Pennington, who signed with the Dolphins. McCown, who began training camp No. 1 on the Dolphins’ depth chart, became the odd man out and was traded to the Panthers in the preseason.
  • McCown hasn’t been around a lot of winning. In 14 seasons, his teams have a combined record of 79-145, a .353 winning percentage. He’s had only two winning seasons and one playoff season — the ’08 Panthers.
  • He played wide receiver in a game (Lions, 2006) and caught two passes for 15 yards.

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