Kevin O’Connell Can Get Revenge Sunday
On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings host the New York Jets in an attempt to reach double-digit wins for the first time since 2019. Head coach Kevin O’Connell might take this one personally, and if there’s reason for him to, you may have seen it on hard knocks.
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, Kevin O’Connell’s professional career was brief. Despite a strong college career for San Diego State, he appeared in just two games for the Patriots and threw only six passes before failing to appear again. When you’re sitting behind both Matt Cassell and, ultimately, Tom Brady, that’s hardly an unexpected result.
O’Connell stuck around for a while trying to make an impact with another team, and the chances dried up following his cut from the New York Jets. Before the 2010 season, O’Connell looked to latch on with Rex Ryan’s club. Mark Sanchez was the starter, while veteran Mark Brunnell was already considered his backup. Veteran journeyman Kellen Clemens was going to be carried as the third, and he started eight games the season prior. Despite being traded for, expecting O’Connell to crack the roster was a longshot.
HBO’s Hard Knocks documented the moment (here) when O’Connell’s hopes were squashed. General manager Mike Tannenbaum was in charge at the time but has since been out of football following his stint with the Miami Dolphins. Rex Ryan is now an analyst, and it’s just O’Connell who remains directly involved with the league.
Sports are a tricky business, and there’s often no disrespect meant when a player is let go. That said, the clip in question (found at the 40:36 mark) shows O’Connell not even being allowed to sit down before he was informed of his release. Although the Jets have turned over basically everything since that moment and been a laughing stock in their own right, O’Connell probably still would like to prove himself in the first opportunity against a former employer.
Last week the Vikings got the better of Bill Belichick and the Patriots. O’Connell probably enjoyed being able to shake the hand of the coach that let him go initially. This week he’ll have an opportunity to face the Jets, and he can also best them. O’Connell wasn’t around for Sanchez’s butt fumble, but a victory over New York would be more of a highlight than the lowlight Sanchez provided.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.
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