NEW YORK (AP) — Josh McCown was sometimes the starting quarterback, often the backup — and always among the most-respected and well-liked players in whatever locker room he was in.
And there were many.
McCown, who turns 40 on July 4, wrote in a piece for The Players' Tribune posted Monday that he is retiring from playing football after an NFL career that spanned 16 NFL seasons and included stints with 10 teams. He will be helping coach his two sons — also quarterbacks — in high school this year. McCown said he also plans to work as a TV football analyst in the future, and ESPN said later Monday it had hired him as an NFL analyst.
McCown was often considered a "bridge" quarterback, and his career record as a starter was only 23-53. But McCown's career was about more than numbers.
"I guess it just goes to show that you don't always get to choose your own path," McCown wrote. "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.
He played the last two seasons with the New York Jets, serving as the starter in 2017 and as a veteran backup to rookie Sam Darnold last year.
After four seasons with the Cardinals, when he started 22 games, McCown signed with Detroit as a free agent in 2006. Next came stints with Oakland (2007), Miami (2008) and Carolina (2008-09), and then a stop in 2010 with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League. McCown also coached high school ball during that time, and it appeared his NFL playing career might be over.
Chicago signed him in 2011 and he revived his career with the Bears. He had what was then his best season in 2013, when he threw for 1,829 yards with 13 touchdowns and just one interception while filling in for an injured Jay Cutler.
McCown finished with 17,707 career yards passing, 98 touchdowns and 82 interceptions, with a 60.2 completion percentage and 79.7 quarterback rating.
"At the end of the day, no matter what team I was on, I tried to serve it to the best of my ability, and I tried to influence my team in a positive manner," McCown wrote. "I hope I did that. And I made sure that when my number was called, I was prepared, and I gave it everything I had, every time."