Bend’s Drew Bledsoe excited to reunite with Bill Parcells in Dallas
By KERRY EGGERS Issue date: Tue, Apr 12, 2005
Drew Bledsoe is on the move. For the past two years, the veteran NFL quarterback, wife Maura — a Beaverton native — and their four children have made Portland their offseason home. The Bledsoes have sold their house, though, and bought one in Bend.
“We love Portland but at heart I’m still a small-town kid,” says Bledsoe, a Walla Walla, Wash., native. “Living in the city when we don’t have to wasn’t my bag. We’re going to settle up in Bend, but we’ll get up to the Portland area a lot.”
Bledsoe is changing football addresses, too. The 12-year vet signed a free-agent contract with Dallas after being released by Buffalo. Bledsoe asked to be let go after coach Mike Mularkey announced that J.P. Losman, who was Bledsoe’s backup as a rookie last season, will be the Bills’ starter in 2005.
Bledsoe is reuniting with Bill Parcells, who coached him during his first five NFL seasons in New England. With Parcells coaching and Bledsoe quarterbacking, the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl in 1997.
“After I got through the anger and the emotions of leaving the Bills, I started looking at my possibilities,” says Bledsoe, 33. “The team that was most appealing was the Cowboys. Parcells is part of that, no question. We had great success together in New England. And there is the organization’s commitment to winning, its desire to win a championship again.
“There is a huge offensive line that can do great things, and it’s an offense I find enticing. I’m excited to be a Dallas Cowboy. I can’t wait to dress my kids in the Cowboy stars and get rid of the gear from the other team.”
Bledsoe started all 48 games for Buffalo the past three seasons. Last season, he helped the Bills, who started 0-4 and 1-5, win eight of their final nine games to finish 9-7, one game out of the playoffs. The 6-5, 240-pound Bledsoe admits his statistics weren’t Pro Bowl material — he completed 256 of 450 passes for 2,932 yards and 20 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. He was 18th in the league in passing yardage and 25th with a passer rating of 76.6.
“Numbers-wise, it wasn’t on par with some of the seasons I’ve had,” says the ex-Washington State standout, a four-time Pro Bowl pick. “One factor was it was the worst season I’ve ever had weather-wise. There were four or five games where it was just brutal — high winds, rain and those things.
“But I was proud things came together. Everyone had written us off early, but across the board, the guys responded nicely. It was a fun run. We didn’t make the playoffs, and when you don’t achieve that, you’re always disappointed. We felt we had a team that could have mixed it up and caused some problems. I don’t know if we were capable of winning a championship, but I sure would have liked to get into the playoffs.”
The lightning rod for criticism from Buffalo fans through the first six weeks was Bledsoe.
“Everyone was ready to send me home,” he says. “The fans, the media — they wanted to put me to pasture. If I came out of the season with anything positive personally, it was that I was able to persevere through all that and come out the other side.”
Bledsoe has a new lease on his career in Dallas. And he won’t accept complaints about his lack of mobility being a major problem.
“I don’t choose to run very much,” he says. “That’s not my forte, scrambling around. But I can be very effective moving around the pocket. I can buy some time to get the ball to the athletes on the field. The ultimate challenge is knowing when to surrender on a play, and I can do that.
“When one of these running quarterbacks wins a Super Bowl, (complaints about his mobility) will be a lot more valid.”