The aerospace engineer who could finally establish himself as an NFL quarterback

NFL 2023 regular season

Dates: 7 September 2023 – 7 January 2024

BBC coverage: Listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website every Sunday, with New York Jets v Buffalo Bills on Sunday, 19 November (from 21:00 GMT)

If learning an NFL playbook is like rocket science, then it is just as well Joshua Dobbs has a degree in aerospace engineering.

Over an eventful 12 months, the journeyman quarterback has had to swot up on offensive plays for five different teams.

During that time, he has made his first NFL start at the age of 27 and played for two different teams on consecutive Sundays.

That whirlwind week culminated in Dobbs, 28, coming off the bench to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a last-gasp victory.

Now the aerospace engineer has the chance to finally establish himself as an NFL player and defy those who said “you can’t do both”.

‘Maximising my time on and off the field’

Dobbs won awards both on and off the field at Tennessee, earning recognition for his academic and community work

Dobbs started playing football when he was five and has been fascinated by aviation and space just as long, so when he went to the University of Tennessee in 2013 he chose to study aerospace engineering, with a minor in business.

Despite being told starting quarterbacks seldom study majors that demanding, Dobbs managed to earn a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while setting a host of records on the football team. He also made time for an internship with an aerospace manufacturer.

Dobbs entered the NFL draft in 2017 and was selected with the 135th pick, but in his first five years in the league, he came on briefly in just five games for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Eager not to let his studies go to waste, Dobbs spent time with the US Air Force, even flying a fighter jet. He also joined an externship programme run by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), working with Nasa at the Kennedy Space Center and Glenn Research Center.

“I’ve been deliberate,” Dobbs told the NFLPA….


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