Ducks In The NFL: Former Oregon QB Kellen Clemens Prepares for 10th Season In San Diego


The “other” Oregon Ducks quarterback in the NFL, Kellen Clemens, is raring to go for his 10th season in the league (coincidentally matching his current pro number) and second for the San Diego Chargers as the backup for Phillip Rivers.

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The Burns, Oregon native became the Ducks full-time starter at QB in 2003 and was drafted in the second round in 2006 by the New York Jets. He spent time with Washington, Houston, St. Louis and now San Diego. After the Arizona Cardinals released Dennis Dixon from the practice squad last October, Clemens became the only active Oregon QB in the NFL until Marcus Mariota was drafted second overall by the Tennessee Titans in April.

With the amount of success Oregon has had in the collegiate ranks in the last decade, it still seems odd that none of the QB’s have so far really “stuck” in the NFL, though Mariota has the best chance to end that cycle. Heck, I was surprised that A.J. Feeley lasted longer in the league (10 years) than Joey Harrington (five years).

Yet Clemens is still around, probably because he appears to accept his role as a career NFL backup. In a recent article on, Clemens says he is still learning at age 32, picking up everything he can from Rivers.

“He’s every bit as good as advertised as a person, and as a player.  He’s also been a great resource for me to teach me the system.”

San Diego’s offensive coordinator knows what it’s like to be a backup QB in the league, because that’s exactly what Frank Reich was. His most famous game as a starter happened in a 1993 Wild Card game for the Buffalo Bills, subbing for an injured Jim Kelly. Buffalo trailed the Houston Oilers 35-3 in the third quarter, but Reich engineered the largest comeback in NFL history as the Bills won 41-38 in overtime. (Chris Berman’s highlights on ESPN that night are classic.)

Clemens picks Reich’s brain when he gets a chance, telling, “It’s been an opportunity for me, with Frank specifically, to learn about what we’re doing out here and then ask him how he did it when he was a backup.  It’s great to be able to balance that off of him.”

The Chargers begin preseason play on August 13th at home against the Dallas Cowboys, before games at Arizona, home against Seattle, and at San Francisco. Clemens is likely to get a lot of playing time in the preseason. San Diego opens the regular season on September 13th against the Detroit Lions.

Next: 2015 Oregon Ducks Opponents: Eastern Washington Tops Big Sky Media Poll