When the Detroit Lions drafted Joey Harrington 3rd overall in the 2002 NFL Draft, many thought the team was finally getting the quarterback who would lead them to the promised land. As we know, that was not meant to be as Harrington struggled mightily and was gone after only four seasons.
Harrington, who is now 37-years-old, recently wrote an essay for Sports Illustrated, titled “Despite what you may think, my NFL career was a success.”
He began with a secret.
“I’m going to explain what happened at every step in my career, and why — regardless of outside perceptions — I think it was a rousing success, but first let me let you in on a little secret: My biggest football dream growing up was to play in the Rose Bowl, not in the NFL,” Harrington wrote.
Also included in the essay are Harrington’s thoughts about his time with the Lions and what they did to him mentally. He also gave former Lions general manager Matt Millen some love.
“In 2002, the Detroit Lions selected me at No. 3 overall. The four years I spent there absolutely crushed me. By the time I left, I was a shell of the player I once was. …
“Through the gentle nudging of general manager Matt Millen — who was, in my opinion, one of the only stand-up guys in that organization — I spent a lot of time with a sports psychologist, trying to figure out how to get my confidence back. In the NFL (and especially at the quarterback position), if you don’t have confidence, you’re done. …
“Toward the end of my tenure in Detroit, Millen and I sat down and talked. He asked me flat out if I wanted to be there anymore. I told him I didn’t know. … I still talk to Matt Millen to this day. He’s a fantastic, wonderful guy. But it was time for both sides to part ways.”