[MUSIC PLAYING] - Well, we passed on him too. So when you say so many teams, you know, we didn't take him until it was the sixth round. First of all, he was a skinny kid, you know. But I think the biggest problem that he had was no fault of his.
You know, his senior year at Michigan he was clearly the best quarterback. But they had signed a young guy by the name of Drew Henson and when Drew Henson came in, you know, I don't know whether or not Michigan guaranteed him to play or not, but at the end of the day, the bottom line was Tommy and Drew were split time. So Tommy was a part time quarterback, wasn't a full time quarterback. And I think that the fact that he didn't play full time for, you know, at his college and he weighed 180 pounds soaking wet, I think the combination of those two things kept people from taking him high.
When we drafted Tommy in the sixth round, his first year there, we kept four quarterbacks on the 53. You know, at a time when people were keeping the three, you know, today a lot of times, they only keep two on the 53 and a practice squad guy. But, you know, most teams were keeping three. We kept him as the fourth. And he was fourth out of the four.
So he went through his whole rookie year basically being a fourth string quarterback. And what he would do every day, and not by our demands, at the end of practice each day-- because he wouldn't get any reps-- he would take all the guys that-- that, you know, that were like him, that didn't get any reps, and they would stay out there and when everyone else went in. And he would go through all the plays that everyone else had just practiced, which we thought that, you know, we had something special there as far as a leader goes.
So now fast track to the next training camp, we went out that offseason and we went and signed Damon-- Damon Huard from the Dolphins, gave him a seven figure signing bonus to come. He had been a backup to Moreno. So Damon was going to be the back up to Drew. And Tommy, we figured now, was going to number three.
It was kind of too close to call between Damon and Tommy. I mean, it wasn't like Tommy outplayed Damon. It was close. So Bill and I sat down. And we went back and forth. And we talked about, you know, one guy who had some experience versus one guy who we thought had more upside.
So we just picked Tommy. And let me tell you something, it wasn't like Tommy had beaten Damon out for the number two spot. You know, it was that close.
So now he's number two. So he now gets number two reps, which is a couple of reps, you know, with the offense and a lot of reps against the defense. But he-- but he's getting-- you know, he's getting ready to play in case something happens to Bledsoe. So now it's week-- week 1. We're playing against the Jets.
And, you know, Drew starts scrambling to the right. And he starts going-- running up the sideline. And he gets hit by Mo Lewis. And he gets really hurt. So he goes off the field, OK? Tommy came on the field for a couple of plays. Then Drew came back on the field. Then Drew went back off the field.
And then we finished the game. And we ended up, we ended up losing the game. Now, you know, Drew was in the hospital. And went to see him that night. And actually, you know, Drew was seriously injured. You know, he had internal bleeding and things like that.
And it was kind of scary there. But we came back. And now Tommy was going to be the starting quarterback. And Damon was going to be his backup.
So we were getting ready to play the Cincinnati Bengals. And we put in a very conservative game plan where, you know, he was going to throw the ball out down the field. We were kind of dinking-- dinking and dunking and playing to our defense. And, you know, we ended up winning that game. We struggled back and forth a little bit early in the year, but-- but, you know, we got it going about the middle of the year and went on a run.
And when he first started playing, you know, you just-- you just told him what to do and if he argued with you, you told him to shut the hell up, you just do what I tell you to do. But as time, as my time matriculated, you know, you know, you give them more and more leeway and more and more say til the fact that after Super Bowl XXXIX, you know, when we had just won three out of four, and it was about-- and I'm leaving to go to Notre Dame and it's about four o'clock in the morning, I'm sitting there with a cold beverage in my hand and so is he.
And he goes, well, what am I going to do without you? And I looked at him and said, you don't need me anymore, big boy. I go, you've outgrown me, you know? You can do it. And these coaches here and you will make you even better.