During his 11 seasons in the NFL, Chad Pennington has dealt with injuries to his wrist, his shoulder (more than once) and now his knee. The former Marshall Quarterback has become a professional rehabber of sorts. You’d have to go all the way back to 2008 to find the last time the former Jets and Dolphins starting quarterback spent the offseason just training for the upcoming year instead of working with a physical therapist trying to get his body back to some sense of normalcy.
Most people would start to feel like they had been snake-bitten. Heck, the poor guy couldn’t even make it through a pickup basketball game without getting injured. However, Pennington doesn’t feel that way.
“That’s just part of the game,” asserts Pennington. “I’ve been fortunate to play in two AFC Championship games and win some playoff games. You can sit here and say why me, but it’s just a waste of time and energy.”
Pennington takes the rehab one day at a time. He’s not pushing himself beyond what he’s capable of and hasn’t put a timetable on a return to the NFL. Pennington has won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award twice. He won it in 2006, following rotator cuff surgery and then won the award again in 2008. However, after 11 years in the league, Pennington is taking his rehab and possible comeback in stride.
“I’m not going to rush things and be ready at a certain point. If I don’t play this year it’s not a bad thing. I can get healthy and figure out what I want to do,” points out Pennington.
His options are wide open if his playing career has indeed come to an end. He graduated from Marshall with a degree in journalism. Being involved in the broadcasting industry is not a farfetched idea, whether it is on a local/regional capacity or nationally. His knowledge of the game and the way it’s played would make him an outstanding analyst.
That knowledge would also make him an excellent coach. For years he’s been considered a coach on the field, he’d likely make a great coach from the sidelines as well.
“Whatever I decide to it will be with my family in mind and making sure they don’t have to make major sacrifices. They’ve made enough sacrifices over the last 11 years,” knows Pennington.
If indeed Pennington has played his final game in the NFL, it almost seems fitting the last time he was on the field, he was asking his teammates to pop his shoulder back into joint. That single moment exemplifies a gutsy career in which he pushed through injury after injury to become a successful NFL quarterback.