Erik Ainge

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Erik Ainge
Ainge10.jpg
Ainge during his tenure with the Volunteers
No. 9, 10
Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1986-06-12) June 12, 1986 (age 28)
Place of birth: Portland, Oregon
Height: 6 ft 5 in (196 cm) Weight: 221 lb (100 kg)
Career information
College: Tennessee
NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 5 / Pick: 162
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Stats at NFL.com

Erik Douglas Ainge (born June 12, 1986) is a former American football quarterback formerly of the New York Jets of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, having played college football at Tennessee. He currently hosts a daily sports talk show on Tennessee Sports Radio.

He is the nephew of former NBA player Danny Ainge, who currently serves as the general manager of his former team, the Boston Celtics.

Early years[edit]

Ainge was born in Portland, Oregon. He was raised just outside Portland in Hillsboro, Oregon, where he was a star athlete at Glencoe High School.[1] As a freshman and sophomore, he played baseball and basketball in addition to football. Ainge was the starting pitcher on his baseball team and was said to throw a 90 mph fastball. He also averaged 17 points, 8 rebounds, and three assists in basketball as a junior, and as a senior was a preseason honorable mention on the Street and Smith's All-American team.[1]

He was a two-year starter at quarterback on the football team, leading the Glencoe Crimson Tide as deep as the Oregon state quarterfinals. As a junior he passed for 2,559 yards and 16 touchdowns. As a senior, he passed for 3,078 yards, 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.[1] Perhaps his most impressive game as a senior came against Aloha High School, when he passed for 475 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions to lead the Crimson Tide to 62 points through three quarters of action. Following his senior season Ainge was named all-state, prep star all-American, and the 2003 Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year. During his senior season Ainge also became one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks on the west coast receiving offers from schools like Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, and Tennessee. He eventually signed with the University of Tennessee.[1]

College career[edit]

As a freshman at UT in 2004, Ainge completed 109 of 198 passes for 1,452 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions.[2] His 17 touchdowns broke Peyton Manning's freshman TD record of 15, and his 1,452 passing yards ranked second behind Casey Clausen's freshman record of 1,473. In Tennessee's 30-28 win over Florida, Ainge led a fourth quarter touchdown drive that pulled the Vols' to within a point, and then engineered a short drive in the closing seconds to set up James Wilhoit's game-winning field goal. Ainge split time for much of the year with Brent Schaeffer, who later transferred to Ole Miss. After an injury just before halftime against Notre Dame, Ainge was replaced by former Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen's brother Rick.

Ainge during a game

During his sophomore season in 2005, Ainge completed 66 of 145 passes for 737 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions, in just eight games.[2] One of his most infamous moments came in the Vols' game against LSU. To avoid getting sacked in the end zone by LaRon Landry, Ainge flung the ball up into the air just before he was ruled down for a safety. Ainge's head also hit the goalpost on the play, tweaking his neck. As a result, Clausen again took over. Ainge finished his sophomore season with a strong performance and a win at Kentucky.

As a junior in 2006, Ainge was named the starter heading into spring practice, and for the first time in his career was able to take all of the first team reps throughout the preseason. Ainge also had a new position coach when David Cutcliffe replaced Randy Sanders as Tennessee's offensive coordinator. He led his team to a 7-1 record before being injured in the closing minutes of the game against South Carolina. In the Vols' win over Air Force, he completed 15 consecutive passes, the second-most in school history (Tee Martin completed 24 consecutive passes in 1998). His 84-yard pass to Robert Meachem in Tennessee's win over Memphis is tied for the fifth-longest pass play in school history.[3] Ainge missed the majority of Tennessee's two losses following the South Carolina game before returning to lead his team to season-ending wins against Vanderbilt and Kentucky. During the season Ainge would set career highs in most statistical categories and break the Tennessee single-season record for completion percentage. The 2007 Outback Bowl was the first bowl appearance for Ainge, as he had missed the 2005 Cotton Bowl Classic due to injury, and the Vols did not qualify for a bowl game following his sophomore season. For the year, Ainge completed 233 of 348 passes for 2,989 yards, 19 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.[2]

In March 2007, Ainge underwent surgery for a torn meniscus. He stated that the injury occurred during weightlifting exercises. However, he was able to recover in time for the 2007 season.

As a senior in 2007, Ainge completed 325 of 519 passes for 3,522 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.[2] Despite 519 pass attempts, he was only sacked 3 times. He completed 62.6% of his passes and had a 135.48 QB rating. Ainge was able to achieve this success despite nagging injuries which hampered him all season, including a broken pinky finger on his throwing hand and a shoulder injury on his throwing arm. The strongest statistical game for Ainge was a 52-50 triple-overtime win over Kentucky in which he threw for 397 yards and an SEC-record 7 touchdowns. In the Vols' win over Wisconsin in the 2008 Outback Bowl, Ainge threw for 365 yards and two touchdowns, and was named the game's MVP.

During his four years at Tennessee, Ainge completed 733 of 1,210 passes for 8,700 yards, 72 touchdowns, and 35 interceptions.[2] His seven touchdown passes against Kentucky in 2007 remains an SEC single-game record.[4] His 325 completions in 2007 remains a school single-season record, and his total yardage in 2007 trails only Manning's 1997 tally of 3,789 yards for the school single-season record. His total career yardage is the third-most in school history behind Manning (11,020) and Casey Clausen (9,577).[3]

Awards and honors[edit]

Professional career[edit]

Ainge was selected in the fifth round (162nd overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. In May 2008, Ainge underwent surgery on the little finger on his throwing hand.[12] On July 16, he signed a four-year, $1.87 million contract with a $165,000 signing bonus.[13]

On November 21, 2008, Ainge was suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on steroids and related substances.[14] Ainge, already on injured reserve and out for the season with a foot injury, was not allowed to be with the team or visit the team facility during the suspension.[14] He was able to rejoin the team December 15, 2008, following the New York Jets' game against Buffalo.[14]

Ainge was expected to compete with Kellen Clemens and Kevin O'Connell for the final quarterback roster spot on the team in 2010.[15] It was later announced that Ainge had entered "a drug treatment/rehab facility for 'recreational issues'," marking the second time he had violated the NFL's substance abuse policy.[15]

Ainge made an announcement to The Associated Press on June 23, 2011, stating that he would retire from the NFL due to injuries sustained to his throwing shoulder and right foot.[16] The Jets officially released Ainge on July 29, 2011.[17]

Radio[edit]

Ainge's radio show debuted on Tennessee Sports Radio (1180 AM) in October 2011. The show was initially named "Morning Wood," but was changed to the "Erik Ainge Show" due to concerns over sponsors.[18] Ainge suggested that the show may at times be controversial, stating, "I'm not interested in the political answers, and I'm not afraid to talk about things that might upset people."[18] Guests that have appeared on the show include Arian Foster, Phillip Fulmer, Rex Ryan, Bruce Pearl, Leonard Little, Butch Jones and David Cutcliffe.[19]

Personal life[edit]

In a first person account written for ESPN.com in March 2011, Ainge admitted that he struggled with drug and alcohol abuse from the time he was twelve years old, and by his senior year at Tennessee he had become addicted to pain killers.[20] Ainge continued to struggle with these issues in the NFL before seeking help.[20] He also suffers from rapid cycling bipolar disorder, for which he has been treated in addition to his drug and alcohol treatment.[20] On July 28, 2013, Ainge was arrested for driving under the influence in Knoxville.[21]

Ainge resides in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife, Amanda, and their daughter.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Erik Ainge". New York Jets. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Tennessee Career Football Statistics, UTSports.com. Retrieved: 23 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b Total Offense, Individual Career Records, UTSports.com, 2012, pp. 329-332. Retrieved: 23 September 2013.
  4. ^ UT in NCAA/SEC Record Books, Individual Football Records, 2012, p. 322. Retrieved: 23 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e "10 Erik Ainge". University of Tennessee Athletics: Football. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  6. ^ "Tennessee's Ainge takes season's first Player of Week award". Usatoday.com. 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  7. ^ "Ainge SEC player of week". Tennessee.scout.com. 2006-09-11. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  8. ^ "SEC Roundup - Week Five Standings & More". Cfn.scout.com. 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  9. ^ "http://www.secsports.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=2&url_article_id=7781&url_subchannel_id=&change_well_id=2". Secsports.com. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  10. ^ http://cingular.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=1710[dead link]
  11. ^ http://wwww.secsports.com/index.phps=&url_channel_id=2&url_subchannel_id=&url_article_id=7775&change_well_id=2
  12. ^ Phillips, Steve (May 12, 2008). "Ainge has surgery to repair broken pinky". WBIR.com. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Contract Information for Erik Ainge". Rotoworld.com. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c "Jets rookie Ainge suspended four games for violating steroids policy". ESPN.com. Associated Press. November 22, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Mehta, Manish (August 4, 2010), New York Jets third-year quarterback Erik Ainge enters drug treatment/rehab facility: sources, New York Daily News, archived from the original on June 4, 2011, retrieved September 8, 2010 
  16. ^ Associated Press (June 23, 2011), "Jets' Ainge announces retirement; cites injuries", Sports Illustrated, archived from the original on June 23, 2011, retrieved June 23, 2011 
  17. ^ Cimini, Rich (July 29, 2011). "Coleman bolts, Aussie punter arrives". ESPN. Archived from the original on July 29, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Mike Griffith, "Erik Ainge Calls Audible On 'Morning Wood,'" Knoxville News Sentinel, 7 October 2011. Retrieved: 23 September 2013.
  19. ^ "The Erik Ainge Show," Tennessee Sports Radio. Retrieved: 23 September 2013.
  20. ^ a b c Ainge Erik; Rich Cimini (March 31, 2011), Ainge: 'I had to get help before I died', ESPN, archived from the original on June 4, 2011, retrieved October 4, 2009 
  21. ^ http://pro32.ap.org/article/former-jets-tennessee-vols-qb-arrested-dui
  22. ^ Births, Knoxville News Sentinel, 24 March 2013. Retrieved: 24 September 2013.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rick Clausen
Tennessee Volunteers
Starting Quarterbacks
2004-2007
Succeeded by
Jonathan Crompton