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Matt Cassel's NFL Career Defies the Odds

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Matt Cassel's NFL Career Defies the Odds

Matt Cassell At Camp, St. John Fisher College

Photos by Paul Adamo

As he competes for the starting quarterback position in Bill's camp Matt Cassel has already fashioned one of the most unusual and unique career's in NFL history. As an answer to a trivia question that most Bill's and NFL fans would have a hard time answering unless they googled it.........Who is the only quarterback in the history of the NFL to start an NFL game at quarterback without ever starting a game in college? Answer: Matt Cassel. Unbelievably, with hundreds of quarterbacks drafted and signed as free agents from Division I, II and III schools who started in the NFL since the league was founded in 1920 he is the only player never to start a college game. At USC for four years he played behind Heisman trophy winner Matt Leinart. But without one start at USC, he was scouted, rated as a prospect and eventually drafted by the New England Patroits in the seventh round in 2005.

After backing up Tom Brady three years, in 2008 Cassel started when Brady went down with a knee injury in the first game. He has been basically an NFL starter since, playing 4 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and the last two years, 2013 -14 with the Minnesota Vikings. New England traded him to Kansas City in 2009 and he was released by the Chiefs after the 2012 season and signed with Minnesota. Christian Ponder actually won the Vikings job in 2013 but an injury kept him out as Cassel filled in. Cassel was named the starter last August but a broken foot in September against the Saint's ended his season as rookie Teddy Bridgewater took over. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills in March of 2015.

He lead the Chiefs to a division title in 2010 and was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate in place of an injured Tom Brady. Another career factoid for Cassel occurred when the Patriots in 2009 designated him as their franchise player, as Brady was coming off his knee injury, offering him a $14.65 million non-exclusive franchise tender — the largest guarantee on a one-year contract in the history of the NFL.

Injuries have cost him games and forced him to the sideline in his years as a starter. Matt Cassel is entering his 11th NFL season and as the second week of camp winds down is first on the depth chart for the Bill's working with the starting unit. He has been the most consistent passer in camp. Coach Rex Ryan has stated tonight's intrasquad scrimmage will go a long way in evaluating the quarterback play. EJ Manuel, in particular, and Tyrod Taylor need to play well as they look to overcome Cassel for the starting position.


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