He weighs over 300 pounds. He’s been Kentucky’s Mr. Football, an MVP, and a Commissioner. Some have even wondered if his stomach has its own gravitational pull. He’s the most interesting man that ever threw a pass for Rich Brooks. He is Jared Lorenzen.
We don’t know if he drinks Dos Equis, but less than a decade ago, Lorenzen cemented himself as a Kentucky legend. In high school, at Highlands, he lettered in the three major sports and earned the title of Mr. Football, caught the eye of then coach Hal Mumme, and became a Kentucky Wildcat. In college, his strong arm and excessive girth earned him many nicknames, including “The Hefty Lefty”, “Pillsbury Throwboy”, and “Qbese”. What many people tend to forget is that his strong arm also earned him some successful seasons as the Wildcats’ signal-caller.
In 2002, Lorenzen had his best statistical season, throwing for 24 TD and only 5 INT, culminating in a solid QB rating of 135.4 and a winning record for the Cats. Though the team was in its punishment phase following the Mumme regime, Lorenzen made Kentucky football fun to watch for his four years. He was fat, yes, but also beloved by the fans. When he wasn’t making players from Middle Tennessee State regret picking a fight with him, he was making defensive backs regret underestimating his ability to throw the rock. Lorenzen, not to be outdone by the likes of Tebow and Cam Newton, was also a very versatile quarterback in the vaunted SEC. After all, he did have six career punts –what a hybrid!
After leaving Kentucky, though, Lorenzen quickly faded into obscurity. His brief stint as Eli Manning’s back-up in New York did give him a championship ring, but he finished his NFL career with less than stellar stats. Lorenzen retired with eight career passes, completing four of them for 28 yards, and scoring a total of one fantasy point. He didn’t even get to punt.
Excepting those who follow Kentucky alumni with a fierce eye, most forgot about Jared Lorenzen for a while. Occasionally, he would rise as the butt of an analyst’s joke, but few knew where Lorenzen had truly gone beyond the NFL. It turns out he’s been busy doing what he loves most –football. Since leaving the NFL, Jared Lorenzen has become a staple of the NFL’s favorite third-cousin –the Ultimate Indoor Football League (UIFL).
His rise in the UIFL has to be an unprecedented journey in pro sports. Within the scope of a single year, he was the MVP of the league and ascended to the position of the league’s commissioner in the offseason. Though the Northern Kentucky River Monsters will miss their star quarterback, the league can rejoice in having the best large leader since President Taft graced the Oval Office. Lorenzen, not to be limited in his post-professional career, is also the current quarterback coach at his alma mater, Highlands High School.
Some quarterbacks can never escape the limelight. Every time Brett Favre gets on a tractor, there is an ESPN analyst ready to ask him if he is planning to join the latest team to lose a player to injury. Jared Lorenzen took a different path. After a prolific college career, Lorenzen quickly faded from view as his style of play didn’t transfer to the NFL. The cameras stopped flashing. But Jared didn’t stop playing. He never left football’s side. Though the UIFL isn’t the most prestigious sports league in America (good luck catching a game on Fox Sports), Lorenzen has found an outlet for his passion and is doing what he always did at Kentucky –leading the way, even if it is unconventional.
It takes more than food to quell the Hefty Lefty’s appetite. He needs football. If it couldn’t be the NFL, Wildcats fans should rejoice that, at least, he’s still in the game. The coach that recruited him, Hal Mumme, always preached the mantra to “play the next play”. Lorenzen isn’t dwelling in a failed NFL career –he’s simply doing what he knows –moving on to the next play.