It has been 33 years since Ty Detmer faced an autumn without football, but here he is, a quarterback without a team.

The Atlanta Falcons, his employer the past two years, did not renew his contract, and no other team has called.

It appears Detmer's long football career is finally finished.

So, is he having a difficult time adjusting to life without football?

"I really haven't missed it," he says. "I keep up with it. I follow friends, and watch how teams are doing. But I don't sit there thinking, man, that should be me out there. I'm pretty content. If someone called and needed an emergency guy to come in or help a young guy along, I'd be happy to return. I still enjoy it, but I'm not dying to get in there."

Detmer has his first "real" job. He works for Triton Financial, an investment firm in Austin, Texas. "Every now and then I have to wear slacks, a dress shirt and a button-down shirt," he confesses. "But no suit yet."

The hours are flexible, which allows him to spend time with his wife and four daughters and to check on his 1,200-acre ranch, which is three hours south of Austin. His father keeps a herd of longhorns there. "I'm mainly in it for the hunting," says Detmer.

There have been only five years in his entire life that Detmer hasn't played football. He began playing the game when he was in first grade and didn't stop until this fall, just shy of his 39th birthday. His career included 59 NCAA records, a Heisman Trophy and 14 years in the NFL. A wall in his home is covered with framed jerseys from his six NFL stops — Packers, Eagles, 49ers, Browns, Lions, Falcons.

"I kind of prepared myself for (retirement) last year," he says. "I thought it might be the end of the line. The last few weeks of the season I appreciated just being there and being a part of it, knowing it might be the last weeks of my career."

Detmer's departure not only marks the end of his own career but also the end of a long streak for his alma mater. For the first time since 1977, no BYU quarterback is playing in the NFL. From 1978 through 2005, Pass U. was represented by Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Detmer and Brandon Doman. Taken one step further, at least one BYU quarterback has been on an NFL active roster every year since 1968, except for 1977, a period covering 37 years.

Detmer, whose younger brother Koy was cut by the Eagles recently after a 10-year career, was the last Cougar standing, which is pretty much all he did the last few years. Because of his smallish build, he was never given much of a chance to play in the NFL (54 games in 14 seasons, including 25 starts).

After taking over the starting job in Philadelphia early in the 1996 season, he led the Eagles to the playoffs. He was the starter again the following season, but after the Eagles lost four of their first six games, Detmer lost his job even though the Eagles were leading the league in total offense. His one big chance was gone. He was finished as a starter, at 30. He played in five games the last six seasons, including four starts with the Lions in 2001.

"It wasn't a dream career," he says. "But I don't have any regrets. I made the most of the situations I was given."

In recent years, he was part player, part coach. He was asked to mentor two No. 1 draft picks, Tim Couch in Cleveland and Michael Vick in Atlanta. Couch is out of the league and Vick has struggled to live up to the hype.

"This year is a big year for him," says Detmer. "It's his sixth year in the league and his third year in that offense."

Over the years there has been considerable talk of Detmer becoming a coach because of his superior knowledge of the game. BYU contacted Detmer three years ago to weigh his interest in coaching the Cougars. Detmer consulted Steve Mariucci, the Detroit Lions' head coach at the time, about a coaching career and the advantages and disadvantages of the pro and college games but decided against coaching then because, as he says, "I wasn't done playing."

Mariucci told Detmer, "If you ever want to coach, give me a call."

Detmer still isn't interested in coaching, yet. "Maybe in a year or two I'll get the itch to coach," he says. "I get to do some of that in camps. I just enjoy what I'm doing right now. Once you make that decision (to coach), you've got to be committed. I was not that committed to being there all day or to recruiting. And in the NFL, you don't have a life outside of football."

For the first time, he and his family have a life that isn't disrupted by football. His daughters weren't able to participate in school activities, because after the NFL season was finished they left one school to move back to Texas and start in another school.

"I'm able to do all the things I haven't been able to do," he says. "I can visit the kids at school. If we need to go on a trip somewhere, we can go. My daughters are growing up. It's time to settle down. They're doing things they couldn't do before."

One of Detmer's trips took him to Provo to watch BYU play Tulsa. "It was the first time I was able to go back and see a game," he says. "It stirred up a lot of old memories. But it wasn't enough for me to say I want to coach."

Ty Detmer file

Age: 38

Home: Austin, Texas

BYU years: 1988-1991

NCAA records: 59

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Heisman Trophy winner 1990

Years in NFL: 14

NFL teams: 6 (Packers, Eagles, 49ers, Browns, Lions, Falcons)


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