Losman led the Las Vegas Locomotives to the UFL championship (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas, U.S. Presswire).
Former NFL First Rounder Signs with Oakland Raiders After Winning UFL Title
Oakland, Calif. (Saturday, December 26, 2009) – What defines a success story is left to the eye of the beholder, whether it’s a personal belief of achievement or accomplishment of an individual feat. Quarterback J.P. Losman, who signed with the Oakland Raiders earlier this month after leading the Las Vegas Locomotives to the inaugural United Football League championship, is one success story that will quickly be placed under the microscope of any beholder’s eye, much like the league he represented this past fall.
When the UFL launched earlier this year, many critics jumped at the opportunity to spit their negativity and criticism at why the league would fail, rather than voice their optimism in how great it is to have a viable supplement to the National Football League. Behind a solid executive crew, the UFL focused on its product and closed the door on the skepticism to provide a fantastic extension of the game of football to those who can view the sports world with a positive frame of mind. More importantly, the UFL provided a platform for a former NFL first round draft pick like Losman to get a second shot at lacing up his boots on Sundays once again.
After a standout career at Tulane University, Losman was taken 22nd overall by the Buffalo Bills in the 2004 NFL Draft, symbolizing the intent of Buffalo brass to make him their signal caller of the future. He was the fourth quarterback taken in one of the best quarterback classes in league history, behind Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. After a freak accident in training camp that cost him most of his rookie campaign was followed by a shaky start to his sophomore season, Losman fought his way to the top of the depth chart prior to the start of his third year in the league. He started all 16 games for the Bills that season, setting a new franchise record with a 62.5 completion percentage.
In the 2007 NFL Draft, Buffalo selected Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards in the third round but insisted Losman was still their guy. The Venice native remained under center when the Bills kicked off the season, but a late hit to his knee in a third week contest against the New England Patriots would eventually lead to Edwards taking over in Buffalo. After spending most of the following year on the sidelines behind Edwards, Losman appeared to be at the end of chasing an NFL dream until the UFL presented him with a second shot.
Under the tutelage of Locomotive head coach and former NFL shot caller Jim Fassel, Losman threw for 1386 yards and nine touchdowns with only two interceptions in the six-game premiere season of the UFL. Fassel worked diligently with Losman throughout the year on his mechanics, mindset and ability to read the field, something that has paid major dividends to his development as a quarterback.
"J.P. is a solid guy and talented quarterback," Fassel recently said in an interview with NFL Fanhouse regarding Losman’s return to the NFL. "He is certainly battle-tested. Most of all, though, I'm very impressed with his work ethic, desire to be good and (the hard) work at his trade to be better."
While those same critics mentioned earlier will now jump back into the conversation to spray their unneeded negativity when it comes to whether or not Losman getting a back-up role equates to a success story for the UFL, it is unquestionably proof of success for the UFL. Losman was a quarterback left for dead by the NFL, and the UFL gave him an opportunity to grow under a former NFL head coach and show that he still knows how to play the game. While he may be a back-up today, he will likely get another opportunity to start once again. Before the UFL came along, players such as Losman would never have that chance.
Those with a negative mindset will likely never see the UFL in a positive mindset, and quite frankly, those of us who hope to see the UFL continue its growth don’t hear them anyway. Success is defined in the eye of the beholder, and it’s hard to see something as successful when you look at it with your eyes closed.