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Hobbs Column: Matt Flynn's patience paying off again

Last Modified: Tuesday, April 02, 2013 11:01 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

I know, it’s silly as can be.

General Managers Gone Wild.

But the NFL is going to throw money around no matter what, so when they get to start making it rain like drunken sailors, some of that cash might as well fall in the lap of a good and decent hard-working guy.

Take a bow, Matt Flynn, you are beating the system to death.

You go, lad.

The former LSU national championship quarterback will likely be the Oakland starting quarterback next year. At least that appears to be the Raiders’ latest plan after getting Flynn via trade from the Seattle Seahawks.

True, it’s been a laughably dysfunctional franchise for a while — not the only, but the FIRST team to make Little Lord Lane Kiffin a head coach — and what a truly nice guy like Flynn is doing in the middle of that whole eye-gouging Raiders mystique is beyond me.

But there are only 32 of those NFL teams out there, so sometimes you can’t be too choosy.

He might, however, have to be patient, and goodness knows Flynn has proven over the years that he has plenty of that.

If not, if the starting thing doesn’t work out, well, he can laugh all the way to the bank. He already had the money and a very nice pension.

But this is the way you play the game in the NFL.

Flynn was a hot item last year, and the Seattle Seahawks gobbled him up on the open market, probably overpaying for what was still an unproven, if promising, quarterback.

Flynn didn’t really do anything wrong with the Seahawks. But he didn’t start either, which is what they were paying the big bucks for.

Dazzling rookie Russell Wilson happened. Nobody saw it coming, evidently. Out of the blue, Wilson beat out Flynn fair and square and is now the Seahawks’ franchise quarterback of the present and the very bright future.

So here’s the good part.

Flynn was scheduled to make $5.25 million with the Seahawks this year under the assumption he’d be the starter by now. The team probably wasn’t going to pay that much for a backup, and only $2 million of it was guaranteed.

Nothing personal, just the business side of the NFL.

But now, after the smoke has cleared, the Raiders will now pay Flynn $6.5 million for this season.

I love this country.

He threw all of nine passes last year, and now gets a new team and a new chance to start AND a $1.25 million raise.

Again, this is no knock on Flynn. Certainly not blaming him. This kind of stuff inevitably happens in pro sports. It might as well happen — yes! — to one of the really good guys.

As one of his former Seahawks teammates, Doug Baldwin, tweeted, “Wishing Flynn best in Oakland. Great quarterback, better man.”

Flynn had already mastered the art of being the invaluable, clipboard-toting NFL backup quarterback, surely the to-die-for best do-nothing job in America so long as the starter stays out of sick bay.

But apparently Flynn, deep down, really wants to throw all that away and be a starter somewhere, make a name for himself along with great gobs of money.

If not, he made the mistake of being thrown into the fray twice while backing up Aaron Rodgers at Green Bay and shined both times. He particularly opened some eyes with a convenient performance just before he became a free agent. He dusted off his arm and threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns against the Lions late in the 2011 season, which was more than any Packer ever, including Rodgers and Bart Starr and even Brett Favre — and he capped it with one of those beat-the-clock, game-winning drives that every quarterback needs on his résumé.

GMs love that kind of stuff.

He had little choice but to go on the free agent market.

The beauty of it is, he didn’t crash and burn in Seattle. He just got sidetracked. Flynn is still undamaged goods, the same quarterback everybody wanted last year without an extra season of wear and tear.

But I know what Raiders fans are thinking: Wait a minute. This is the guy who backed up JaMarcus Russell at LSU? The same JaMarcus Russell who the Raiders paid $32 million to witness one of the great busts of all time.

Well, yeah, but …

Never mind that it was a different Russell at LSU, a guy still eyeing the carrot of that big money rather than wallowing in it. He also had quarterback coach Jimbo Fisher, now the Florida State head coach, on his tail every day making sure he stayed focused on that task. If the Raiders had hired Fisher along with drafting his quarterback, Russell’s big arm might be dazzling NFL defenses today instead of looking for work.

But Flynn was fine. The way Russell played his junior year, it would have been hard for anybody to beat him out. But Flynn responded when summoned; for instance, earning MVP honors while carving up Miami in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

And, of course, when finally given the keys to the car when Russell left, it was Flynn who led LSU to the 2007 BCS national championship with certainly no more talent around him, arguably a little less, than Russell had the year before.

It would appear Flynn’s patience is paying off again.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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