Timm Rosenbach tried working the kinks out of a sore back on the driving range Friday, and a couple old chums from Washington State kidded him from behind a restraining rope.
The topic? Rosenbach’s two-year absence from the National Football League.
“I was just taking a sabbatical,” Rosenbach volleyed back. “I was studying abroad.”
Not abroad, actually, but north of the border in Canada.
And during a break from action in the Bank of America Quarterback Classic at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, Rosenbach made it clear what he studied during his year of premature retirement and self-imposed exile in the CFL.
The course of study - himself.
“Mentally, it helped me figure out what I was doing,” Rosenbach said of his retirement before the 1993 season - a move that cost him $1 million in salary. “People say, how can you walk away from a million dollars, but it gets to a certain point - I don’t care who you are - that that stuff doesn’t matter to you. You have to have your personal happiness.
“Liking yourself and who you are has to come first, before all that.”
Rosenbach, now with the New Orleans Saints, was ticketed for stardom as the firstround choice in the supplemental draft of 1989.
In 1990, he took every snap for the Cardinals, passing for more than 3,000 yards and rushing for another 473.
The traits that brought success at Washington State were the same attributes that worked at Arizona. As much as anything, he beat people with his toughness, serving as a firebrand, a leader, a guy who would get in your face or stomp a puddle in your chest if you didn’t put out.
Until the beatings began to stack up. The knee, the shoulder, a concussion.
“I got banged up; I’m still banged up,” he said. But another factor in his alienation from the game was the Cardinals organization itself. “It was a horrible organization, and that was certainly one of the elements,” Rosenbach said.
Citing his weariness of the game’s violence and inhumanity, Rosenbach slipped into retirement. A year later, a rested Rosenbach allowed an offer from Hamilton of the CFL to coax him back to the game.
“It was a great place to play, but there’s not a whole lot of organization up there,” he said. “When you call the plays, it’s like drawing them in the dirt.”
Rosenbach’s high sticker price ultimately worked against him, and the financially strapped Tiger-Cats released him before the end of the season.
“I still felt it was the right decision for me to make and I really liked playing again,” Rosenbach said.
The Saints, who signed him to a two-year, $1.2 million deal, will soon discover how much mileage there’s left in Rosenbach. At 28, Rosenbach concedes that he carries the physical reminders of a career filled with collisions.
The stiff back that hindered his backswing, in fact, came from a game “my junior year in high school (Pullman High) when a guy at Clarkston speared me.”
He’s not really expected to beat out returning starter Jim Everett, but will compete for the backup role with former Idaho quarterback Doug Nussmeier.
What he brings to the challenge, most importantly, is a fresh attitude.
“I’m tired of worrying about things I can’t control,” he said. “That’s what I used to do. Now, I figure you might as well just go do it.
“You do the best you can and if it works out, it happens. If it doesn’t, you just have to go on with your life.”
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