Who is John Wolford? Ex-Jets QB hold Rams’ season in his hands
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The Jets missed out on Trevor Lawrence, have to decide on Sam Darnold’s future and let go of John Wolford.
Who is John Wolford?
Before he was pressed into action by Jared Goff’s thumb surgery to start and make his NFL debut in a must-win game for the Los Angeles Rams this week, Wolford, was the quarterback the Jets dragged away from his soon-to-be-life at a private equity firm.
Three days before he was supposed to start at Teall Capital in August 2018, Wolford, 25, signed with the Jets for the final week of the preseason, after he had made a strong impression as a non-roster participant in spring rookie minicamp. The ride lasted 10 days, which included three practices and a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, before he was cut.
The odds are stacked against players who sign with an NFL team as an undrafted rookie to fill out a 90-man roster that eventually will be cut to 53. They are even more miniscule for players like Wolford – deemed worthy only of a three-day tryout and not a contract after the 2018 NFL Draft.
So, his short run behind Darnold and Josh McCown – which ended when the Jets decided to swap out Wolford for free agent Davis Webb on their practice squad in 2018 – already was a form of overachieving considering where he began. Webb, the Giants’ draft pick and one-time likely successor to Eli Manning, is on the Buffalo Bills practice squad.
Wolford eventually started the job on Wall Street but couldn’t shake the football itch and lit up the short-lived Alliance of American Football. He threw a league-high 14 touchdown passes in eight games and caught the attention of the Rams.
After a year as the Rams’ No. 3 quarterback – imitating the next week’s opponent on the scout team – Wolford bumped up the depth chart when they did not re-sign former first-round pick Blake Bortles. Goff has taken all 1,046 offensive snaps this season, but they are turning to Wolford – backed up by the newly re-signed Bortles – to win and clinch a playoff berth.
Again, who is John Wolford?
Of all the quarterbacks to come through talent-rich Florida, Wolford briefly was the state record-holder in career passing yardage (10,621), touchdown passes (126), total touchdowns responsible for (162), total offensive yardage (13,403) and completions (706), according to Jacksonville.com. His final game was a legendary 74-73 loss in the state playoffs.
Originally committed to East Carolina where he would’ve run the offense of Lincoln Riley – yes, the Oklahoma coach sought after for seemingly every NFL head coach vacancy – Wolford flipped and led Wake Forest from the dregs of major college football to a bowl-game winner during his four years as a starter.
Wolford’s senior season was so good that social media pushed him as an underdog for the Heisman Trophy: #WhyNotJohn.
Rams fans are asking – hoping? – the same thing in Week 17.
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