Doug Flutie has been a Heisman Trophy winner, a would-be savior of a wobbly league and a strike-breaker on his own home soil.
Now he's just another quarterback fighting for a job in the NFL. "It's the first time I've been in a normal situation, which I like," he says.Acquired by New England from the Chicago Bears during last season's players' strike, Flutie is in his first full training camp with the Patriots. He reported last Friday with the rookies, a week before Friday's deadline for veterans to show up at the Bryant College camp.
He is expected to do most of the quarterbacking in Saturday's rookie scrimmage against the Washington Redskins and Coach Raymond Berry says he will be the main quarterback in one of the four preseason games.
Flutie also expects to play in others. "That's all the opportunity you can ask for. The more I get out on the field, the happier I'll be."
The 5-foot-9 inch Flutie won the 1984 Heisman Trophy, led Boston College to a 1985 Cotton Bowl victory and became a legend with the 64-yard nationally televised "Hail Mary" pass to beat Miami 47-45.
That spring, he signed a multi-million dollar contract with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, a marquee player in a second-rate league. He was hurt during that season and the league eventually folded.
He joined the Bears seven games into the 1986 NFL season and never was fully accepted by veterans. He started the Bears' only playoff game, but looked bad in defeat.
Last year, the Bears traded him to the Patriots on Oct. 13 and he led New England to a 21-7 victory at Houston five days later in the third and final replacement game.
"It was a little difficult," Flutie said. "I wasn't sure that I'd be real solid out there, but we just had a limited amount of plays in and everything I had seen before because I'd been in a couple of different systems and I picked it up real quick."
Flutie completed 15 of 25 passes for one touchdown against the Oilers, but the strike ended, the veterans returned for the next game and he didn't play the rest of the season.
Tired of repeatedly having to establish himself with a new club, Flutie hopes to spend his career with the Patriots and is beginning to feel a part of the team.
"Hopefully, I can stay with one team for a few years and just sit back and learn and be ready," he said.