- Feb 2, 2006
- Reaction score
Here are some thoughts from Tui in article.....
Tuiasosopo wants chance "to show what I can do"
By Blaine Newnham
Can it really be five years since Marques Tuiasosopo willed Washington into the Rose Bowl?
For both Tui and the Huskies, it must seem like 500.
Remember the quarterback he dashed in Pasadena, Purdue's Drew Brees?
Last week, in this giddy period of NFL free agency, Brees signed a 10-year contract that could be worth $60 million to quarterback the New Orleans Saints.
Maybe we can't forget Tui's 500-yard performance against Stanford as a junior, when he threw for 300 yards and ran for 200 more. Or the game the next year when he covered 80 yards in three passes to win at Stanford as life was being sucked out of the injured Curtis Williams and, by extension, his teammates.
I can't forget them. They were the best I have ever seen.
"Man," he said this week, "I've still got the fire. I still want to compete; it's what I do."
You can't feel sorry for a young man who is 26 years old, got a $1.5 million signing bonus and has been paid another $2 million for his five years as the backup quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.
"I've got a good job," he said.
But as a practice-field quarterback when he was always better in the game than he was preparing for it, Tui doesn't want a profession as much as he wants a passion.
"They knew how I could affect a game in college, that's why they drafted me," he said. "I just want a chance to show what I can do. One game is not a chance."
Tuiasosopo is in the final year of his deal with the Raiders, one that has bound him to the organization but never guaranteed him anything beyond the original signing bonus.
"If they had wanted to make room for me on their roster, they could have," he said.
Instead, the team has changed coaches, now on its fourth head man during Tui's tenure, recycling Art Shell this time to replace Norv Turner, who followed Bill Callahan, who followed Jon Gruden, the guy who liked and drafted Tuiasosopo in the first place.
Only twice in five years has Tui started a game for the Raiders. In his third season, he replaced injured Rich Gannon and came close to leading the team to an upset against Kansas City. The next week, in his first start, he tore up his knee.
"I've had some tough luck, and recently some bad luck," he said. "All I know is that I want an opportunity to be a starting quarterback in this league. I want it to be with the Raiders, but if that's not to be then I want it to be with someone else."
Behind the scenes for the Raiders lurks the owner, Al Davis, who apparently didn't have the same infatuation with Tui that his coach at the time, Gruden, did.
Davis has always gone for the strong-armed, deep-throwing bomber, from Daryle Lamonica to Jeff George. Instead of giving Tuiasosopo the chance to permanently replace Gannon, the Raiders mortgaged their future with Kerry Collins.
Late last season, with Collins failing and his future in doubt, Turner told Tuiasosopo he would start the final four games of the season. Sacked six times, Tuiasosopo threw two interceptions and fumbled twice as the Raiders lost to the New York Jets.
The next week, apparently at the urging of Davis, Turner went again with Collins, who didn't do any better and finished with a 7-21 record as Oakland's starter.
"All I want is honesty," said Tuiasosopo, in reference to Turner's unfulfilled promise. "I didn't like being disrespected like I was, and I made that known to the right people. When all was said and done, I could have done as well or better [than Collins] if given the opportunity."
All of which is about as disrespectful of authority as Tui has ever been. Clearly, he is frustrated. He knows his time in the NFL is waning.
"I'm a much more polished quarterback than I was in college," he said. "I've spent five years learning all I can. The last time I've played with any consistency was in college."
The Raiders have let Collins and his $9 million contract go, although there is speculation that the team might re-sign him. But no more speculation than that they'll trade up to get Matt Leinart or Vanderbilt's Jeff Cutler, or down from No. 7 to get Vince Young.
The only quarterbacks they have on the roster now are Tui and Andrew Walter of Arizona State. They met with Josh McCown this week, but McCown signed with Detroit.
Tui is still single, and still spends a lot of his time at home in Seattle. He was here this past week.
"I'm enjoying watching the Huskies in the NCAA tournament," he said. "Coach [Lorenzo] Romar has done a fantastic job. Coach [Tyrone] Willingham will too, if he gets the time. The program needs stability."
Is he talking about Washington's or Oakland's?
"I think the organization still values me and wants to give me the opportunity I need," he said. "I'm ready."
He was always willing and able.