Todd Marinovich is clean and sober nowadays, and he’s apparently feeling good enough to lace his cleats back up and make a comeback to the football field.
Now to be clear, Marinovich — who’s 48-years-old and well over 20 years removed from his stint with the Los Angeles Raiders — isn’t trying to make a comeback to the NFL. At this point, even Brett Favre would think that’s too much. No, he isn’t trying to get back into the league, but that doesn’t make this comeback attempt any less impressive.
Marinovich is hoping to strap his helmet up in the World Developmental Football League this season, and he’s aiming to be the starting quarterback for the SoCal Coyotes. It’s well worth noting that he’s not coming in on his name and reputation alone, as he was an assistant coach (quarterback coach) for the Coyotes last season and obviously knows the game well.
Speaking of reputation, that may not have been enough to get him to this point anyhow.
He was a very good college quarterback for USC back in the day. As a freshman in 1989, he led the Trojans to a Rose Bowl victory over Michigan, culminating an exciting year that saw him throw for 2,578 yards and 15 touchdowns (13 interceptions) while rushing for four touchdowns on the ground. In 1990, Marinovich threw for 2,423 yards and 13 touchdowns (12 interceptions). He got USC to the Sun Bowl that season, but shortly after, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.
Drug use was the major issue of Marinovich’s career and it has been the major issue of his life up until this point. He was drafted in the first round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Raiders, taken No. 24 overall as only the second quarterback drafted to that point (behind Dan McGwire). The expectations were extremely high for Marinovich considering what he was able to do in two seasons at USC, but he ended up being a complete disappointment in the NFL — lasting only two seasons with the Raiders before being released. He was suspended for the 1993 NFL season after repeated failed drug tests and he never made it back to the league
Marinovich did have a stint as a backup in the CFL and he also played for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League, but his issues with drugs were something he could never kick and every time something went right (like when he made the AFL All-Rookie team), something would go wrong (like when he was suspended by the Avengers in 2001).
The latest drama that put Marinovich back on the bad side of the headlines was when he was arrested in August of 2016 after being found naked in a backyard, holding a bag that contained marijuana and reportedly meth.
Recently speaking with reporters, though, the former NFL quarterback has seemed to finally embrace sobriety and it looks like he may be turning things around. According to quotes recorded by Shad Powers of The Desert Sun, Marinovich actually sees this comeback as part of his recovery.
“It’s the greatest game on the planet and I’ve been away from it for so long, and I can’t think of anything more fun,” he said.
“Recovery has changed every aspect of my life and made it better so why wouldn’t that carry over to the football field?”
Marinovich will be competing with incumbent starter Jacob Russell, who’s 25-years-old and threw 35 touchdowns in an undefeated campaign last season for the Coyotes.
[Featured Image by Mike Powell/Getty Images]