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Northwest Athlete Profile: Jon Kitna

NFL Football – Jon Kitna

Born September 21, 1972 Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma native Jon Kitna has been in the NFL since the 1997 season and while he has never really been given a lot of respect every time he hits the field he has been one thing and that is productive.

Kitna attended Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington and he was not highly recruited and decided to stay close to home to attend Central Washington University, which is a NAIA school. He was a QB there from 1992-1995 and in 1995 he led Central Washington to the NAIA National Football Championship.

Kitna was not drafted and in his first year as a pro in 1997 he played for the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe and was named World’s Most Valuable Player when he led the team to the World Bowl V title.

His play across the pond garnered interest in the NFL and in 1997 the Seattle Seahawks signed him as a free agent. In 1997 and 1998 he served as a backup to Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon and he got his first shot as a starter in the 1999 season leading the Seahawks to an AFC West crown, but the Seahawks lost to Miami in the Wild Card game.

Kitna's journeyman status as brought him a long ways

After splitting time with Brock Huard under center in 2000 the Seahawks decided not to bring him back and he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. Not a good call Seattle, as in 2003 he passed for over 3,500 yards with 26 TD and the Bengals finished up at 8-8 with Kitna was named Comeback Player of the Year.

In 2004 his role changed to a mentor to Cincy’s #1 draft pick QB Carson Palmer and he was a good teacher and they became good friend and one of the main reasons is that both live to hit the links.

In 2006 he signed with the Lions and even though Detroit did not do well Kitna did passing for over 4,000 yards in both seasons in the Motor City.

Kitna was traded to America’s Team in 2009 and he spent the whole season as Tony Romo’s backup. In 2010 he took the reigns of the Cowboys when Romo went out with an injury and, yet again, he was solid passing for over 2,000 yards with 16 TD in only 9 games where he posted a legit 5-4 record.

No matter where Kitna has gone he has produced and is just shy of 30,000 passing yards in his career and that isn’t too bad from a QB from an NAIA college.

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