When someone has more passing yards than legends Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath, in addition to throwing for a greater number of touchdowns than Troy Aikman and Bart Starr, well, you don't expect to find them teaching high school math just months after retiring.
Jon Kitna is best remembered as the starting quarterback for the Seahawks, Bengals and Lions during his 16 seasons in the National Football League. Nevertheless, Kitna has started his life as a first-year math teacher and football coach at Lincoln High School, in his old stomping grounds of Tacoma, Washington.
How did this happen?
Kitna, the pride of Central Washington University, explains his unexpected athletic career is to really to blame.
"The NFL wasn't supposed to happen," he tells the Seattle Times. Kitna says he even applied for a teaching gig before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Seahawks. This was always part of his plan for life.
"I never knew I wasn't going to do it," Kitna says. Some 29,745 passing yards later and millions earned, he's finally getting the chance to use his degree in math education.
Kitna ended his career as Tony Romo's backup with the Dallas Cowboys. After suffering a back injury, he determined his days in the NFL would end after the 2011 season. His wife of 18 years, Jennifer, knew her husband had a future in the classroom.
"I didn't marry an NFL quarterback," Jennifer declared. "I married a teacher and a coach."
When word got out that Kitna had plans to return to coach football, several schools were interested, but he ended up at Lincoln, thanks in large part to his roots. The Seattle Times reports he graduated from the school, as did his parents, and his son Jordan will be enrolling as a freshman there next year.
Unlike most high school football coaches, money isn't a stumbling block for Kitna. He and his wife spent more than $50,000 of their own money to buy completely new equipment for the weight room at the most impoverished high school in Tacoma. They didn't wait around for approval from the school board, which finally came after they had already purchased the strength gear.
While cash for weights is great, Kitna, 39, has uncovered something about teaching that he's found particularly difficult to master.
"The technology is completely overwhelming," Kitna says.
Clearly lacking scientific know-how, he's referring to things such as the overhead projectors and graphing calculators used in his classroom.
Whether Kitna turns out to be a great football coach or not, his heart is in the right place. The Seattle Times' Danny O'Neil reports Kitna shows up at 7 a.m. each day with a bag of McDonald's breakfast sandwiches for students who clearly need the nutrition assist.
In any event, Kitna explains why ultimately he's decide to get his hands dirty teaching when he could be living the high life.
"We don't believe that we've been given all we've been given to just enjoy a comfortable life," Kitna said.
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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