Long before Troy Aikman was the most sought-after broadcaster in the NFL, he had a Hall of Fame career as the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. And if not for Doug Flutie, that career would’ve ended... in San Diego?
By 2000, Aikman knew that his time in the Big D had some to an end, and he began exploring other options, including joining the Chargers, who made their home in San Diego at the time.
“It was clear towards the end of my last season with the Cowboys that I wouldn’t be back in Dallas if I were going to continue to play,” Aikman said recently during an appearance on The Ryen Russillo Podcast. “…I then was starting to look at whether or not I wanted to maybe try to go play somewhere else, or if in fact I was going to retire.”
Aikman’s fate was largely in the hands of Chargers GM John Butler, who had previously overseen Buffalo, a team with solid signal callers Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie. Both quarterbacks were of interest to Butler at his new gig.
Aikman recalls: “Truth be told, Norv Turner, at the time, was the offensive coordinator with the Chargers and Mike Riley was the head coach. And I had gone to San Diego and had met with everybody but their general manager John Butler...
"And I’m having these conversations with Norv and other people in the Chargers organization, and I had decided that I was going to come backand play one more year and I was going to sign with the Chargers, if an offer was made.”
Unfortunately for Aikman, an offer was made. Just not for him.
“And then the Bills released Doug Flutie. And I got a call from Norv the next day, and he said that the team had just signed Doug Flutie as their veteran quarterback,” said Aikman.
“When they took Flutie, I said, ‘Well then that makes it easy, I’m gonna go ahead and retire.’ And I did."
That series of events ultimately led Aikman to swap a helmet for a headset, a move that Flutie made himself six years later.
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