Sitting here waiting for Super Bowl XXIII to get under way, Steve Young, who has never been accused of having a problem getting into quests, challenges and other assorted projects in his life, admitted that there is one thing that he will never be any good at.
"I've never been real good at waiting," he said.Patience is not his virtue.
For example, there's his current insistence of double-lapping careers. By summer and fall he's an NFL quarterback, working for the San Francisco 49ers. By winter and spring he's a student at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU.
A lot of guys might be satisfied with one career at a time.
But if you're waiting on Steve Young, you're backing up. His only concession to slowing down is that he occasionally sleeps.
This is the same person, you may recall, who was not long ago finishing his college career at BYU by winning the Holiday Bowl and graduating with a double major - and in a matter of days later he had signed to go to work for the United States Football League.
A lot of people thought it was because the USFL offered Young a $40 million contract. A lot of other people thought the more plausible reason was because the USFL played in the spring, and the NFL's fall season was too far off to wait for.
Young had gone through his BYU football days displaying his couldn't-wait tenacity - the only quarterback in the Edwards era who didn't redshirt a season. He climbed from eighth string to first string and when he took over from the record-breaking Jim McMahon he directed an offense - in the 1983 season - that to this day remains the most powerful, in terms of yards-per-game,in the history of college football.
The only criticism of Young was that he wouldn't always stay in the pocket. Sometimes he just couldn't wait.
That's been his only complaint as a pro. Too much waiting around. Certainly the money has been there - "He wouldn't have to work another day in his life," says his agent, Leigh Steinberg; and certainly he wouldn't have to go to law school. But the resounding success hasn't come quickly enough. First the USFL folded. Then came a couple of lean years in Tampa Bay, where quarterbacks should have patience above all else.
It was Young's happiest day as a pro when Tampa traded him to the San Francisco 49ers two seasons ago. The 49ers told Young they wanted him to take over from Joe Montana when Montana went into the Hall of Fame.
The problem is, Montana hasn't worn out nearly as quickly as someone with a bad back, bad knees, and 13 years of NFL experience was supposed to have worn out.
In the meantime, Young has been about as contented as John McEn-roe.
He did have three 49er starts during the regular season this year. But each time when it appeared Montana was ready to be the retiring type, he wasn't.
"I don't think there's any question that they have confidence in me here, and that I'll take over in time," said Young. "But I'm not a good watcher, and I haven't had the luxury of easing into the situation. That's why my style, when I have played, has been somewhat furious.
"I'm not a good watcher," he adds.
Hence, he's both pleased and perplexed as he prepares to make his first Super Bowl appearance Sunday - as Montana's backup - against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pleased to be here. Perplexed over what his role is, and will continue to be, as Montana remains healthy.
No sooner will Sunday's game be over than Young will be packing up his belongings in San Francisco and moving back to Utah, where he'll join the law school session already in progress.
Catching up shouldn't be a pro-blem.
On the upside, at least Steve Young won't have to worry about filling his hours in the offseason. Besides, it will give him a chance to get a jump on thoseyears in his life when he won't be striving to be the best quarterback in the business. When, as he jokes, "I may decide I want to become the greatest trial lawyer who ever lived." Even if it will be murder waiting on the juries.