Former Panther quarterback Jake Delhomme has returned to the NFL -- finally -- signing a late-season contract with the Houston Texans Tuesday.
I can't think about Delhomme and Houston without remembering the Super Bowl following the 2003 season. Delhomme played one of the most stunning fourth quarters any Super Bowl quarterback ever has at Reliant Staduim in Houston -- and lost. He led the Panthers to touchdown drives on their final three possessions, threw for more than 200 yards in the fourth quarter alone and was still outdueled by Tom Brady and New England, which won 32-29 on a last-second field goal. Delhomme would have undoubtedly been the Super Bowl MVP had Carolina won that one.
So time marches on. Delhomme, 36, now will serve the injury-depleted Texans -- at least for now -- as a backup for T.J. Yates, the rookie and former North Carolina quarterback suddenly thrust into the lineup after season-ending injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart. He can help serve as Yates' mentor and sounding board, certainly, and Jake is only about five hours from his Louisiana home and the horses he loves and has been helping with around there. (He and his family are into the horse business pretty heavy).
I think it's a fine move by the Texans (8-3), who are in a fairly desperate situation but would be the AFC's No.1 playoff seed if the season were over. Houston's defense and running game are so good that the QB can be a game manager -- although Schaub certainly was better than that -- and still win some.
I believe before it's all said and done Delhomme will get some meaningful snaps in Houston, and it will be interesting to see then whether his arm is shot or whether he can still summon up some magic. I'm glad he's back in the league, however, at least for awhile. Delhomme's one of the best guys to ever grace an NFL locker room, and if he wants to do it again, more power to him.