In 2007, University of Oregon QB Dennis Dixon was one of the most popular young men in all of college football as he dropped jaws with his explosive speed and escapability, while also converting on key passes for his Ducks en route to an incredible #2 ranking in the BCS polls.
Dixon was widely regarded as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate in 2007, with former University of Florida QB Tim Tebow right on his tail, until the Ducks’ front man tragically tore his ACL against the Arizona Wildcats late in the year. This catastrophic knee injury brought Dixon’s storybook senior season to a screeching halt and also delivered a massive blow to his 2008 NFL Draft stock. Incredibly, Dixon still finished fifth overall in the Heisman voting with 17 first-place votes, while Tebow brought home the trophy.
The Pittsburgh Steelers ended up drafting Dixon with the 156th overall pick when he dropped all the way to the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Well after four uneventful years as a backup to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger where he played sparingly, winning one Super Bowl title, Dixon spent last season on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad, earning a more-so complimentary Super Bowl XLVII ring.
Once the Ravens cut ties with Dixon in 2013, it looked like his NFL career was just about finished. But not so fast.
After firing 14-year head coach Andy Reid following a horrendous 4-12 season, the Philadelphia Eagles called upon Chip Kelly to lead their widely talented squad. Kelly had spent the past six seasons with the Oregon Ducks (the final four as head coach) where he masterminded a modern, innovative spread offense.
So when Kelly began to shift and shape his ideal Eagles’ roster for 2013, the brand new NFL coach’s first addition at the quarterback spot was Dixon, who he coached when acting as the offensive coordinator for the Ducks during Dixon’s historic 2007 season.
While the simple acquisition initially looked like a legitimate attempt at boosting QB depth, the Eagles also drafted QB Matt Barkley in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and brought back starting QB Michael Vick on a restructured one-year deal. Second-year QB Nick Foles also remains in the Birds’ quarterback battle.
With Vick, Foles and Barkley all significantly more talented than Dixon, it seems obvious now that Kelly brought the former Duck aboard, to be at best a practice-squader, out of pure sympathy.