Seventeen seasons after being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2002 NFL Draft, Josh McCown is retiring from the NFL.

McCown announced his decision in a piece he wrote for the Player’s Tribune published on Monday.

The 39-year-old veteran quarterback spent his first four seasons in the desert, starting 22 games compiling a 10-12 record with 5,431 yards, 25 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.

He spent time with 10 different NFL teams and played for seven of them throughout his career. His longest stint was with the Cardinals.

McCown finished his career with 17,707 yards passing, 98 touchdowns, 82 interceptions, a 60.2% completion percentage and a 79.7 quarterback rating.

“I wanted to be a franchise quarterback. I wanted to bring a Super Bowl to Arizona. I wanted to retire a Cardinal,” McCown said in his Player’s Tribune piece.

Drafted in the third round out of Sam Houston State, McCown was the fourth quarterback taken off the board in the same season David Carr was taken No. 1 overall by the then-expansion Houston Texans.

The Cardinals’ first- and second-round picks that season were defensive tackle Wendell Bryant and linebacker Levar Fisher.

He was drafted one season before Carson Palmer went No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals.

In the timeline of Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks, McCown was basically sandwiched between the Jake Plummer years and Kurt Warner years.

McCown’s most famous moment as a Cardinal may have been his touchdown pass to Nate Poole in 2003 against the Minnesota Vikings, which effectively knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs.


As a journeyman quarterback McCown cashed in late in his career, banking a salary of more than $4 million per season in each of his last five years in the league. That included a single-season payout of $10 million last year with the New York Jets.

McCown’s total earnings over his 17 seasons was just shy of $50 million, according to Spotrac.

In the piece, McCown stated how he was looking forward to helping coach his two sons who are both high school quarterbacks.