Remember Jon Kitna? He was an undrafted free agent out of Central Washington University who ended up playing quarterback for four NFL teams during a career that spanned 15 years.
He hung up his cleats in 2011 and took a new job as a math teacher and varsity football coach at Lincoln High School in his hometown of Tacoma, Wash.
This week, Kitna, 41, will return to his last team, the Dallas Cowboys, for the final game of the 2013 regular season. He will back up expected starter Kyle Orton (who has himself been pressed into service because starter Tony Romo is injured).
There’s a lot riding on the game, too. If the Cowboys win their home finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, they win their division and go to the playoffs. If they lose, they go home.
It’s all a very feel-good, winsome story. But wait! There’s more.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Kitna announced — on Christmas Day, no less — that he will donate his entire $53,000 paycheck from the game to Lincoln High.
Like most former NFL starting quarterbacks, Kitna is loaded, of course. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that Kitna has about $12 million at his disposal.
Still, $53,000 ain’t chump change, no matter who you are.
The Cowboys settled on Kitna for the backup role because of his familiarity with the team’s playbook. (He played for the Cowboys from 2009 to 2011.)
It was Kitna who contacted Cowboys coach Jason Garrett about the possibility of returning to the team for the last game of the 2013 season.
“I told Jason if he wants me or somebody to come in and call a play and be able to pull a play off if a bad situation happened, I would be willing to do that,” the veteran quarterback said, according to CBS Sports.
The high school football team Kitna coaches — the Lincoln High Abes — went 8-2 this year, an improvement on the 5-5 campaign during his first year.
Kitna’s son, sophomore Jordan Kitna, is the starting quarterback for the Abes.
Garrett expressed confidence in the geometry teacher who will be just a play away from facing down the Eagles front seven.
“He said he would run scout team for the high school team and give them a really good look like he gave us great looks when he was here,” Garrett said. “So he’s a very active guy. He’s a mentally tough guy.”