Jon Kitna – Math Teacher/QB/Coach
Date of birth: September 21, 1972 (age 39)
Place of birth: Tacoma, Washington
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
College: Central Washington
Undrafted in 1996
Debuted in 1997 for the Seattle Seahawks
Last played in 2011 for the Dallas Cowboys
John Kitna’s football career has come full circle – from playing high school and college ball in the Pacific Northwest, to his present gig teaching math, and coaching at his Alma Mater, Lincoln High School in Tacoma.
For more on Jon Kitna, check out this northwest player profile by my colleague at NWSB Jason here.
Born on September 21st 1972 in Tacoma,Washington, John Kitna played high school ball and eventually went on to lead his college team Central Washington to a NAIA National Football Championship in 1995 during his senior year.
While in Barcelona he led the Dragons to the World Bowl Championship in 1997. Upon his return to North America, Kitna would be on the sidelines for most of the 1997 and 1998 season before getting the starting nod for the final five games of the 1998 season.
Becoming a starter in Seattle
It was the 1999 season that John Kitna became Seattle’s unquestioned starter, leading his team to a 9-7 record and a wild-card playoff berth – a game that the Hawks would lose to the Miami Dolphins.
The 2000 season started out rough for Kitna who played one game before entering into a platoon quarterback situation with Brock Huard.
Kitna would move on after the 2000 season. Holmgren wasn’t sold on Jon as his QB of the future.
Before the 2001 season, Kitna caught on with the Cincinnati Bengals as an unrestricted free agent. He would go onto become the #1 Quarterback for the Bengals and he would eventually be in charge of mentoring Cincinnati’s #1 draft pick from 2003 Carson Palmer.
While in Cincinnati Kitna was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2003 only to lose his starting role to Palmer in 2004.
Kitna moved on for the 2006 season when he signed with the Detroit Lions where he would pass for 4000 yards in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
In 2008 Kitna sustained a season-ending injury in Week 5, a season in which the Lions went 0-16.
Kitna was traded to the Dallas Cowboys on February 28th, 2009 where he saw limited action behind starter Tony Romo. During the 2010 season Kitna saw some unexpected action when Tony Romo went down with an injury.
He threw for over 2000 yards and 16 touchdowns in 9 games while going 4-5 as Cowboys starter.
Kitna retired from the NFL on January 12th 2012. Retired from football that is. Now he can be seen roaming the halls of Lincoln High School where he teaches math, coaches football and leads what is otherwise a fairly normal life.
He’s a millionaire teaching math!
Barcelona Dragons (1997)
Seattle Seahawks (1997–2000)
Cincinnati Bengals (2001–2005)
Detroit Lions (2006–2008)
Dallas Cowboys (2009–2011)
Career highlights and awards
World Bowl MVP (1997)
AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2003)
PFWA Comeback Player of the Year (2003)
Pass attempts: 4,442
Pass completions: 2,677
Passing yards: 29,745
QB Rating: 77.4
KJR Radio in Seattle’s AM guy Mitch in the Morning had a great interview with Jon this week. Click here to listen.