IRVING, Texas -- Vinny Testaverde and Bill Parcells are together again. The long-expected reunion of the quarterback and coach became official
Thursday when Testaverde signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
Testaverde's agent, Mike Azzarelli, said the deal could be worth as much as $5 million based on playing time and performance. Testaverde, who at 40
still wants the opportunity to compete as a starter, should get that chance with his former coach. But he will begin in Dallas as the backup to Quincy
Carter and a mentor to Carter and Drew Henson, who quit professional baseball to return to football this spring.
The opportunity to compete to be a starter excites me," Testaverde said. "I didn't have that opportunity in New York."
The Jets released Testaverde this week, ending a six-year run for his hometown team in an expected salary-cap move. His first two seasons there were
"June 1 couldn't get here fast enough for me," he said. "I know good things are ahead for both myself and this organization. Again, I'm very excited
to be here."
Testaverde will take part in the Cowboys' minicamp that begins Saturday. Parcells has said that Carter, the Cowboys starter for most of the past three
seasons and all 16 games last year, will go into training camp as the No. 1 quarterback. But the coach has always said that the best player will
start. Parcells didn't take part in Thursday's announcement.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Testaverde would be given a legitimate chance to be the starter. In 1998, Testaverde made the Pro Bowl and guided the
Jets to the AFC title game in Parcells' first season. But Testaverde tore his Achilles tendon in the first game of the next season, Parcells' last as
a coach until taking over the Cowboys last season.
The Heisman Trophy winner was the No. 1 overall pick by Tampa Bay in 1987. He stayed with the Buccaneers through 1992, then spent three seasons in
Cleveland and two in Baltimore before going to New York in 1998.
The Jets' move had been expected since February, when Testaverde said he wouldn't take part in the team's offseason program and was considering
retirement after 17 seasons. Still, Parcells' desire to have a veteran quarterback and Testaverde's likely availability always appeared to a good
Testaverde started just 11 games the past two seasons, losing the starting job to Chad Pennington early in the 2002 season. Testaverde went 2-5 as a
starter last season after Pennington broke his wrist. Despite the losing record last season, Testaverde became the ninth quarterback in NFL history to
pass for over 40,000 yards. The addition of Testaverde gives the Cowboys five quarterbacks on their roster.
Chad Hutchinson, another former pro baseball player and the starter the second half of the 2002 season, played this spring in NFL Europe. Tony Romo
spent all of his rookie season on the roster without playing a down.