In professional sports, the media spotlight tends to shine on the knuckleheads for whom there’s no shortage. That’s why Tim Tebow became a pop culture phenom. Fans long for players they can cheer for on and off the field.
Jon Kitna is Tim Tebow minus the blinding spotlight. A devout Christian, who after playing quarterback for four NFL teams over fifteen years, just retired. Here’s his top ten salary years from largest contract to smallest.
|SEASON||TEAM||BASE SALARY||SIGN BONUS||CAP VALUE||SALARY||POSITION|
|2001||Cincinnati Bengals||$ 500,000||$ 4,000,000||$ 1,501,440||$ 5,501,440||Quarterback|
|2008||Detroit Lions||$ 2,950,000||$ 3,500,000||$ 5,875,000||$ 5,000,000||Quarterback|
|2006||Detroit Lions||$ 1,450,000||$ 3,500,000||$ 2,375,000||$ 5,000,000||Quarterback|
|2009||Dallas Cowboys||$ 1,400,000||$ 2,000,000||$ 4,000,000||Quarterback|
|2004||Cincinnati Bengals||$ 1,000,000||$ 2,375,000||$ 3,190,000||$ 3,377,500||Quarterback|
|2003||Cincinnati Bengals||$ 2,625,000||$ 3,626,600||$ 2,626,600||Quarterback|
|2002||Cincinnati Bengals||$ 1,500,000||$ 2,501,260||$ 1,501,260||Quarterback|
|2007||Detroit Lions||$ 1,450,000||$ 3,500,000||$ 2,875,000||$ 1,500,000||Quarterback|
|2000||Seattle Seahawks||$ 1,371,000||$ 1,373,600||$ 1,373,600||Quarterback|
|2005||Cincinnati Bengals||$ 1,000,000||$ 2,188,820||$ 1,001,320||Quarterback|
Instead of spending his retirement counting and trying to spend his millions, Kitna’s taken another job. Part-time math teacher at Tacoma, Washington’s Lincoln High School and full-time football coach. Teaching and coaching at his inner-city alma mater has been his wife’s and his plan all along. He’s excited to begin fulfilling his real purpose in life. Giving up the cushy, glamorous life of hanging with Tony Romo and Jerry Jones on chartered jets for late night lesson planning, apathetic math students, footballers used to losing, and slow, lengthy Friday night school bus rides on jammed freeways. Remarkable.
Sad that a story like this is left to his local paper and this humble blog. Every one of the country’s sports writing cognoscenti should be leading with Kitna’s story. How he was a screw up at Lincoln High School. How he drank way too much at Central Washington University, cheated on his present day wife, committed to Christianity, and turned his life completely around.
Whether you’re religious or not, Kitna’s commitment to service should inspire. Here’s a short video of Jon talking about his vision for the team. Football excellence as a means to more important ends. After watching the vid, I’d be happy to coach the coach on how to set personal faith—public school boundaries.
Here’s hoping he inspires a generation of students and athletes. I will be watching Kitna’s second career whether the media shines their light on him or not. And I’ll be cheering lustily for him, his team, Lincoln High, and the larger community.