Troubled ex-Raiders QB eyes football comeback at age 48
INDIAN WELLS – Former USC and Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich will be introduced by the Coachella Valley-based SoCal Coyotes today, seeking to be their starter at age 48.
Marinovich will compete against the incumbent, Jacob Russell, who led the World Developmental Football League in 2016 by throwing for 2,048 yards and 35 touchdowns as a rookie.
Marinovich will be introduced by the team at a news conference in Indian Wells.
Marinovich was hired as an assistant coach in February, but the staff saw promise in his playing abilities during workouts with the team.
“When he started throwing, his mechanics, arm strength and accuracy are obvious,” Coach J. David Miller said. “Overnight, he went from being the QB coach to the elephant in the room.”
“Nobody really wants to admit what we were seeing. But perhaps the only thing more outrageous than a 48-year-old quarterback is to deny a talented man the opportunity to play the sport he loves, break the tape, and to leave it on his terms.
“We anticipate the naysayers, but Todd’s passion, sincerity, humility and desire is extraordinary.”
Marinovich’s promising career was derailed by substance abuse and legal problems, including multiple arrests for drug possession.
His latest run-in with law enforcement came in August, when he was arrested in Irvine on drug and trespassing charges and was found with methamphetamine and marijuana on him. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in March and received three years of formal probation.
Team officials say he has been clean and sober since the incident and has undergone weekly drug tests, as well as sharing his story at public speaking events at schools, churches and other venues throughout Southern California.
“Todd’s been focused on sobriety and God since he’s been here,” said Miller, whose team opens training camp Aug. 10 and plays its home games at Indio’s Shadow Hills High School.
Marinovich has acknowledged in the past that his drug use contributed to the failure of his NFL career. Following his release from the Raiders in 1993, he had subsequent stints with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the British Columbia Lions in the 1990s.
Marinovich’s most recent football experience was with the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League, who he joined in March 2000. He left the team in 2001 after again being arrested, that time on suspicion of heroin possession.