Matt Schaub: 'I Have A Ton Of Football Left In Me'

About two years and two months ago, Matt Schaub was in Hawaii, alongside Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the AFC's Pro Bowl quarterbacks.

On Tuesday, Schaub signed a one-year contract with the Ravens, knowing he will be a backup entering the season for the first time since 2006.

It's been a challenging past couple years for Schaub, but not ones that have broken him.

"If you play long enough, there's going to be ebbs and flows and peaks and valleys throughout a game, throughout a career and life in general. It's something I've worked through and I'm a better person and player because of that," Schaub said Wednesday. 

"I feel I learned from it, I grew as a person and as a player from those experiences. I'm just looking for the next opportunity. I have a ton of football left in me. I know I can still play at a high level."

Schaub's struggles began during the 2013 season. The Houston Texans started the year 2-0, but then came to Baltimore in Week 3 for a tilt between two AFC powerhouses. The Texans lead until Schaub was picked off by linebacker Daryl Smith, who returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. That turned the game, and the Ravens went on to win in a landslide, 30-9.

Schaub didn't know it at the time, but it was also a turning point in the season. The Texans lost every other game that season, finishing 2-14. Schaub threw a pick-six in four straight games, an NFL record. He suffered an ankle injury and then was replaced as the starter.

"Did I have a tough year in 2013? I sure did," Schaub said. "Things snowballed, I forced things, I pressed a lot. Things got away from me as a player and us as a team.

"I think when you're in an offense that does so many good things for so many years, and you have so many good players around you, you start to just expect things to work and things to happen and things to go well. When they didn't, it just really snowballed."

Schaub was traded to the Raiders the following offseason. There were high hopes that he could help Oakland get to the next level, but Schaub again had trouble. Much was made of an elbow injury, but he simply had to rest his it after experiencing fatigue during training camp.

"My elbow is fine," Schaub said. "It's something throughout the course of training camp of all the throws that you make and all the work you put in is just something that came about the third week of the preseason there. [I] gave it a little rest, and it was fine throughout the season. It didn't hinder me at all, so it wasn't even a factor."

Second-round rookie Derek Carr grabbed the starting job and started all 16 games. Schaub attempted just 10 passes and threw two interceptions. Schaub also said he was going through some personal family troubles last year.

"How you handle those is what's going to carry you through," Schaub said. "That mental toughness, if you want to call it that, is something I feel I've always had. I've just fought through things. I've leaned on some really great times that I've had in my career."

Fans or media pundits who criticize Schaub have short memories. It wasn't long ago that he was a consistent 4,000-yard passer, something he's done three times in his career.

"That's what this league is all about is criticism," Schaub said. "You get too much praise in good times and you get a lot of criticism in tough times. That's just the way it goes, and as a player you've got to continue to work and grow every day as a person and player."

Schaub said the Ravens present a "great opportunity for me to take a step back." As a free agent for the first time, he's been able to launch himself back into football with a rejuvenated approach.

At this point in his career, he's a backup. And that's something he's now getting used to.

"This role as a backup, you mentally and physically have to get yourself ready to play," Schaub said. "At the drop of a hat, I know that could happen at any moment. I know Joe has been healthy every game of his career, but you never know. You've got to prepare each week as if you're going to be the guy in the huddle and taking the snaps.

"I know what I can do as a player and I know what I'm capable of. It's just about finding that right opportunity and that right spot to display those things."

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