Enjoying life as a dad, Jeff George considers a future in coaching

Enjoying life as a dad, Jeff George considers a future in coaching

ALL-USA

Enjoying life as a dad, Jeff George considers a future in coaching

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Today, we catch up with 1985 American Family Insurance ALL-USA football player Jeff George of Warren Central (Indianapolis), who played quarterback for 14 seasons in the NFL. Today, he spends his Friday nights watching his son, who is the senior starting quarterback at Warren Central.  For more than 30 years, USA TODAY has recognized the nation's top high school athletes. We are digging into the archives and checking in with ALL-USA honorees from the past three decades.

When he played in the NFL, the complaint about Jeff George was that Jeff George always came first with Jeff George.

In one sense that hasn't changed, but these days the Jeff George who comes first is his oldest son, also named Jeff George, a senior starting quarterback at his high school alma mater, Warren Central (Indianapolis). Through five games, the younger George has thrown for 670 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"When it's your child, no matter what they do, you're very proud of them," said Jeff Sr. "When they do something that they're good at, it's a thrill to see that happen."

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Two seasons ago, Jeff Jr. transferred from Class 3A Brebeuf Jesuit (Indianapolis), where he was a starter as a sophomore, to Class 5A Warren Central.

"This is his third system in three years," Warren Central coach Jayson West said. "I couldn't be happier with the progress he's making under our current program."

Every day, Jeff Jr. says he walks past a trophy case that commemorates some of his   father's exploits, including state championships in 1984 and 1985. He was a part-time starter last season, playing usually on passing downs, and has been the full-time starter this season as the Warriors are 4-1 in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference, one of the top high school leagues in the country. It would be a burden for some to live up to a Indiana legend at the same position, high school and name, but Jeff Sr. never doubted whether his son could handle the pressure.

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"Certain kids have certain strengths and personalities," he said. "You just know they're going to be able to handle it really well. I know everyone thinks their son is special, but he's always taken (his name) in stride and used it to his advantage. He's just a kid who's always able to handle the pressure. I know how hard he works. You have to have a passion to play football, especially at that position. The work he puts in after practices is really what makes a quarterback good. That's what makes him special."

The younger George is 6-3 and 190 pounds, has an offer from Illinois and is getting interest from other Big Ten schools. Like his father, he's a three-sport athlete, also playing basketball and baseball. While he says he's competitive with his father, particularly in table tennis, he doesn't worry about living up to his name.

"I know that I am my own person," Jeff Jr. said. "I do my own thing and stay true to that. I just try not to get into the comparison game."

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At the same time, having a father who played in the NFL for 14 seasons has its benefits.

"He's like my second coach," Jeff Jr. said. 'We go home and analyze everything when we talk football, even when we're watching games on TV. He'll ask me what coverage the defense is in."

Jeff Sr. played his last season in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders' practice squad in 2006. He talked about a comeback as recently as 2011, when he was 44. This past summer, he was a guest coach with the Minnesota Vikings, tutoring Christian Ponder.

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"That was a lot of fun," Jeff Sr. said. "I talked with Coach (Leslie) Frazier about coming in, to see if coaching is what I want to get into. I was up there for a week and got to work with Bill Musgrave (the Vikings' offensive coordinator), who is a close friend. I learned a lot. Who knows? Maybe coaching is in my future."

George has a few business interests, including a restaurant, real estate and an insurance agency that his brothers run. But he said most of his time is spent being a dad to Jeff Jr., his daughter, Jordan, who is a sophomore cheerleader at Brebeuf, and youngest son Jayden, who is in the seventh grade.

"The most important thing I'm proud of is being able to be home and spend time with the family, not missing a Friday night game," he said. "I wouldn't trade that for anything."

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