Steve Weatherford’s story is one step away from a Hollywood movie where a coach, watching an injured player carried off the field, points to a minor league player in the stands and tells him to “suit up and get in the game.”
The National Football League New York Jets were in a bind. Punter Ryan Quigley had just injured himself and they had a big game with the New England Patriots the next day.
You can imagine coaches and managers, huddled in the front office, scratching their heads, wondering what to do, while ESPN radio played in the background. One of them might have jumped up and pointed to the radio shouting, “Hey, didn’t that guy use to play for us?”
Weatherford had played for the Jets, years earlier, and in September left the New York Giants team thinking his playing days were over.
He was hosting a radio show, taking calls from listeners when Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan called – and offered him the punter’s job.
“I’m baaaaaaack!!!!” he posted to Twitter.
Unfortunately for Weatherford, the big game didn’t end like it does in the movies. He wasn’t carried off the field in triumph, on his way to a comeback career.
After the team cut him five days later, he was paid the minimum wage for a NFL punter– $51,000 for the single game, about $12,000 per kick.
And he has a great story to take back to the radio airwaves.
Photos: slgckgc, CC; Steve Weatherford, Twitter