The Tyler Palko File – Part Three


This is the last of three parts on the Tyler Palko story from his high school days to reaching his dream of becoming an NFL starting quarterback. The other parts were:

NFL SCOUTING COMBINE

Palko was part of the Combine in February 2007 in Indianapolis. He measured at 6-1½, 215 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.83 seconds, and was timed in 2.83 in 20 yards and 1.73 in 10 yards. His vertical leap was 31½ inches, with a 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump.

NFL

NEW ORLEANS (2007-08)

Despite being rated among the top 10 quarterbacks available in the NFL Draft, Palko was not selected largely because most teams considered him too small to be a draftable NFL player. There was interest in him as a free agent from Arizona and Carolina, but he ended up signing with New Orleans because of the salesmanship of head coach Sean Payton. He signed on April 30, 2007.

“He talked to me and said the things I wanted to hear as far as being honest,” Palko said at the time. “He didn’t care about how tall I was. He didn’t care about all those other things. He felt that I could play football and, I mean, that’s all I cared about. If you have someone that believes in you, that’s really what you’re looking for.”

Said Payton: “You see some intangibles with him. I think he’s a pretty good leader. He’s a coach’s kid and a guy with a pretty quick release. He enjoys football. He likes being around it. So those are all things that are positives. He’s a long ways away and he’d be the first one to tell you that, but we’re anxious to work with him and we’ll see what we have.”

Released on cut to 53 on September 1 … added to practice squad on September 4 … promoted to active roster on September 6 … inactive 3rd QB vs. Indianapolis … released on September 10 … added to Saints practice squad on September 11 … promoted to active roster on September 16 … inactive 3rd QB vs. Tampa Bay … inactive 3rd QB vs. Tennessee … released on October 7 … added to Saints practice squad on October 9 … promoted to active roster on December 30 … inactive 3rd QB vs. Chicago … released by the Saints on cut to 53 on August 31, 2008.

Pre-Season Passing Performance

Season Team

G

Att

Cmp

%

Yds

TD

INT

Sks

Rat

2007 New Orleans

5

48

27

56.3%

271

1

4

3-23

44.7

2008 New Orleans

4

46

23

50%

309

1

1

7-56

69.9

ARIZONA (2009)

After sitting out the remainder of the 2008 season, Palko signed with the Cardinals on January 15, 2009. Arizona was coming off its Super Bowl season, and Kurt Warner was back for one more season at QB, with Matt Leinart as his backup and Palko was fighting for the No. 3 job with Brian St. Pierre. He ended up losing that fight.

Signed a reserve/futures contract on January 15, 2009 … appeared in four pre-season games for the Cardinals … released on cut to 53 on September 4.

Season Team

G

Att

Cmp

%

Yds

TD

INT

Sks

Rat

2009 Arizona

4

45

21

46.7%

244

1

2

2-15

52.5

 SACRAMENTO/UFL & MONTREAL/CFL (2009)

With no immediate interest from NFL teams, Palko signed with the California Redwoods of the United Football League for the 2009 season. The Redwoods were stationed in Sacramento. He was released on October 10.

“It really was just something that happened and you kind of` keep plugging along,” Palko said of his UFL experience. “Things don’t always go the way you want them to go in your career. I don’t think anybody, at least the way I was raised, you’re not too good to be brought down to Earth or to get fired. They play football there too and for whatever reason the coaching staff chose to do that. I don’t really look at it as a low point in my career. This thing is a marathon not a sprint and sometimes you have to scrape the bottom before you can reap some benefits. Getting cut anytime, getting fired is not a positive experience, whether it was by them or by an NFL team, it’s not a positive experience.”

After being released by the Redwoods, Palko signed with the practice squad of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He was added to the active roster on November 2. He did not play in a game. He was released on November 25.

    PITTSBURGH (2009)

Palko was signed to the Steelers practice squad on November 25, after starting QB Ben Roethlisberger suffered a head injury in an overtime loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. On November 28 he was added to the 53-man roster as the inactive third quarterback for games against Baltimore and Oakland. He did not play. He was released on December 9.

CHIEFS (2010-11)

Palko signed with the Chiefs on March 3, 2010 … he was released on the cut to 53 players on September 4 … added to the Chiefs practice squad on September 5 … promoted to active roster on December 8 … played in first NFL game on December 12 at San Diego when he was backup QB to Brodie Croyle.

Season Team

G

Att

Cmp

%

Yds

TD

INT

Sks

Rat

2010 Chiefs

4

42

24

57.1%

215

0

3

1-7

41.3

2011 Chiefs

4

62

37

59.7%

384

2

2

4-18

74.9

WHAT THEY’VE SAID ABOUT TYLER PALKO
“For a sophomore he’s something. You try to get pressure on him; he rolls away and doesn’t panic. So many times, he just does the right thing at the right time.”
Moon High School coach Mark Capuano in Palko’s sophomore high school season in 1999.

“He’s a quarterback who’s generated a lot of talk about having ‘intangibles.’ You can’t overlook that. People may wonder what intangibles are, but that’s what college coaches say about him. They like his toughness, his overall athleticism, and how competitive he is. I had one recruiting coordinator tell me the other day to never bet against him as a quarterback.”
Allen Wallace, editor of Super Prep magazine.

“Sometimes, he’s so intense that maybe people don’t understand him. You’ve got to explain to them, he’s not a bad guy. He’s just that competitive. He doesn’t accept anything below the highest level. It’s nothing personal. It’s just how he is. I trust Tyler. I don’t care if he’s thrown five picks in one game. I know that in the fourth quarter, he’s going to be in there ready to play.” Former high school and college teammate Kellen Campbell.

WHAT TYLER PALKO HAD TO SAY

“There is nothing I can do about fan’s expectations. I know a lot of fans tend to get overzealous. I can’t control what they say and I can’t stay up at night worrying about what people expect from me. I plan on getting to Pitt and learning the offense. From there, I will work as hard as possible to get onto the field. I want to lead the University of Pittsburgh to a national championship and I realize that will take hard work. As for expectations, I can’t worry about them.”
Palko after he signed to attend Pitt.

“You would like it to be easy, be a first-round draft pick and have all the chances in the world. But that’s not the situation that I came in the NFL in. Everybody has to take their own path. This is the business. You have to sometimes go with the flow. Things aren’t going to go the way you want to, and you have to go with the flow and that’s even when you are a starter on the field. You have to be able to adapt and deal with adversity and with people telling you no. If you can handle it, then you are able to deal with the negative aspect of this business, great, as long as you keep your foot in the door. That’s what I’ve done up to this point. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep it in there for a few more years.”

Growing up in Pittsburgh, you’re booed in high school. Football is like a religion back where I’m from. If you’re not doing well, and you’re a 14-year-old kid playing high school football, they’re going to boo you.  Going to college in my hometown, I wasn’t ready for the pressure. It was fun. Obviously, we didn’t win as many games as we would have like to, but we accomplished some things there. It’s football, so there are too many things going on being a quarterback to worry about that other stuff.”

“My dad wanted me to stay active but he didn’t want me to play football until sixth grade because he didn’t want me to get burned out, and he didn’t want me to develop that midget All-American mentality that ruins so many kids. I liked soccer but I always got kicked out of the games because I was too rough. They kept moving me further and further from the action because I was more physical than most of the kids out there. It was a good experience because I learned how to be athletic and competitive and a part of a team without burning out on football, which I was around all the time.”

“I’ll admit I spend a lot of time with football. And that’s because it really is what I do, what I like to do. It isn’t who I am, but it is a huge part of my life. I’ve just always believed if you do something, do it the right way. I’m driven to be the best at what I do, the best to ever put on a uniform … I’m a hyper-competitive person — whether it is football, golf or playing cards with my family — I’m only interested in being the best at it. That requires sacrifice and hard work. I enjoy my friends and family, but by the same time I love football, being around it, studying it, trying to get better at it and right now that’s really what I do.”

“I pride myself on being someone who’s going to do whatever it takes to win. I don’t want people to look at it like, ‘Oh, Tyler is here ’till all hours of the night.’ No. I’m here because I have a responsibility to this football team to get my job done. If that means staying here all night, well, then, I’m not getting any sleep. That’s what I owe to my team. I do push people. I do look at it like a job. I do enjoy that stuff. Because that’s what I need to do.” On his film study habits.

“I’m not the type of guy to look back on things. If I’m spending time on that, that’s wasting time that could be spent building for the future. The last time I checked, I wasn’t perfect. We need to get back to work.”

“Our spirits aren’t going to be crushed. We’re not little girls. We figured out last year you’ve got to learn the hard way sometimes. We got our tails kicked. There’s one of two ways you can go from here — put your tail between your legs and crawl and run away from it and hide, or face it like a man. We’ve got 10 games left.”
After Pitt lost 42-21 in their 2005 season opener to Notre Dame.

“Football doesn’t allow you to feel sorry for yourself. You just move on. That’s what we’re doing. All this stuff, I really don’t hear it, whether it’s justified or not, it is what it is. I don’t need to listen to that stuff, and hopefully my teammates don’t. The only thing I really care about is what my teammates and my coaches think, and my family. You accept the highs and you learn from the lows. You learn from it and move on.”

“I know how to play quarterback. I know what it takes to win, what it takes to lose, what it takes to get you beat. I pride myself on being tough and being in there and being a competitor and being a good team guy. I was told once, ‘Don’t ask for anything and don’t expect anything. You go and do your job and you’ve got to earn it and do it the hard way.’ That’s the way I’ve done it all my life.”


2 Responses to “The Tyler Palko File – Part Three”

  • November 20, 2011  - Chuck says:

    What a way to get baptized. Playing the Patriots on monday night football. Should be interesting to say the least.


  • November 20, 2011  - Steve says:

    Bob – thanks for the 3 part series on Palko. It will be interesting to see if his intensity and devotion to improvement will give him the ability to take advantage of an opportunity.




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