Former Bulldog Jon Stinchcomb happy to walk — not limp — away from football

Counting down the days to their annual "Countdown to Kickoff," former Bulldogs David Greene, Jon Stinchcomb and Matt Stinchcomb gather at Children's Heathcare of Atlanta on Thursday. (Special photo)

Counting down the days to their annual "Countdown to Kickoff," former Bulldogs David Greene, Jon Stinchcomb and Matt Stinchcomb gather at Children's Heathcare of Atlanta on Thursday. (Special photo)

Things are a little different for Jon Stinchcomb this summer. Make that a lot different.

For the past nine years, Stinchcomb has about this time been preparing for the rigors of preseason camp with the New Orleans Saints. Last year the veteran offensive tackle had the added anxiety of doing it in under a cloud of uncertainty and on balky knees to boot.

Nevertheless, he put that aside for one weekend each July to join his brother Matt Stinchcomb and buddy David Greene in hosting the annual Countdown to Kickoff preseason football event in Athens. But he always did so knowing the heat and humility of football was just around the next corner.

Not this year. Jon Stinchcomb is now a 32-year-old retiree. He and wife Ali are what he calls “stay-at-home parents.” They have a 2 1/2 -year old little boy named Mason and added daughter Emily Gray to the brood just four weeks ago. So at the moment his biggest concern is how much sleep he is going to get each night.

“Right now we sleep in two and a half hour bursts,” he says with a laugh.

An eight-year veteran who started 80 games in a row at right tackle and won a Super Bowl in New Orleans, Stinchcomb was released by the Saints last August. Though he had numerous offers from other NFL teams to continue playing, he chose to walk away while he still could.

“To be honest with you, I was still hurting,” said Stinchcomb, who was drafted in the second round by the Saints in 2003 after graduating from Georgia. “My knees were pretty sore, probably more than just sore. I didn’t feel like the reward outweighed the risk anymore, especially if I was going to be playing for another team. I’ve asked a lot of my body and, after six knee surgeries, I felt like it was probably a good opportunity for me to step away from the game and be grateful rather than limp away from the game and regret staying around a little too long.”

So Stinchcomb left a million dollars on the table and packed up the family and moved back to Georgia. They’re now living in Lawrenceville. Thanks to a fruitful NFL career and good money management, Stinchcomb is not in a rush to get back to work. And with thermometers expected to blow past 100 this weekend, he’s grateful he’s not still doing his old job.

“Oppressive heat and steamy,” he said of the New Orleans’ camps. “But, you know, I feel like football has been good to me and I’m grateful for every experience that I had with it. I had more good experiences than I ever could have asked for, a Super Bowl, a Pro bowl, a USO Tour, the list goes on and on. So I’ve got no room to complain.”

So it’s a peppier — and much lighter — Jon Stinchcomb who will be signing autographs and glad-handing Georgia football fans for this year’s Countdown to Kickoff event, which will be held Saturday, July 14 on the UGA campus. He has dropped 45 pounds since giving up the game.

“I’m down to about 270 and I don’t have to push around a 300-pound fat guy every day, so I feel pretty good,” Stinchcomb cracked.

This is the seventh year in a row the Stinchcombs and Greenes have hosted “Countdown,” a charity event designed to raise money for Children’s Heathcare of Atlanta and the Georgia Transplant foundation. Dozens of current and former Bulldogs join the three mainstays to sign autographs, play games and generally be available for interaction with their adoring fans. Tickets are $25 apiece or $75 for the family package and can be purchased on the event website at ugakickoff.com.

“This is our seventh rendition of this sucker,” said Jon, promoting the event with his brother and Greene at Children’s Healthcare on Thursday. “We’ve been able to raise $770,000 for charity with it, too, so that’s a good thing. We’re closing in on that $1 million mark and would really like to get there.”

With a less-distracted — though slightly sleep-deprived — Jon Stinchcomb in the fold, they surely will.

36 comments Add your comment

Auburn Grad

June 29th, 2012
7:11 am

Good for them. Too bad more aren’t like them.

Alabama Jack

June 29th, 2012
7:11 am

I am a Tech fan through and through but it is great the Jon has done so well. He was a great player and I am sure will continue to be successful.

Jake Dawg

June 29th, 2012
7:20 am

Good group of guys supporting a great organization.

bardawg

June 29th, 2012
7:21 am

Damn Good Dawg!

Babalu Skies

June 29th, 2012
7:24 am

Stinchcomb was one of Donnan’s more intelligent players. When you compare him to the low class trash that Richt recruits, it’s easy to see why UGA has gone in the toilet and now competes only for lowest SAT scores and Fulmer Cups.

Good luck to him.

JoeFann

June 29th, 2012
7:26 am

Three DGDs. Couldn’t say enough good things about each AND Children’s Healthcare. Blessings to all!

Top Row Dawg

June 29th, 2012
7:45 am

All three of those guys belong in the College Football hall of Fame.

Matt Stinchcomb, Two-time First Team All-America selection (consensus-’98). . . 1998 recipient of Jacobs Blocking Trophy. . . 1998 NFF William V. Campbell Trophy recipient

Jon Stinchcomb 1999 Freshman All-America first team by The Sporting News and Football News.
All American and named best offensive lineman in the SEC 2001

David Greene SEC Offensive Rookie of the Year after the 2001 – 2002 Offensive Player of the Year for The Southeastern Conference – Greene finished his college career as the winningest quarterback in NCAA Division I history with 42 wins in four years, eclipsing the record previously held by Peyton Manning. Greene is the Southeastern Conference all-time career leader in yards gained with 11,270.

RedandBlackDAWG

June 29th, 2012
7:50 am

Now this young man is a sensible, intelligent man, that made a great decision. Why go through the pain, when your heart and body isn’t in it. He put his family first and that is to be admired. I wish more people in life took that path. I wish for him the best of luck in his future.

Dawg4Life

June 29th, 2012
8:10 am

See what happens when you manage your money right and don’t blow it all like so many atheletes do? Great job former Dawgs; you make us proud!!!

Coach Grohbo

June 29th, 2012
8:21 am

Buh bye Crowell!

Stinger Envy

June 29th, 2012
8:23 am

Babalu Skies A.K.A. Lee Harvey Oswald

Tick Tick Tick

If you don’t get help at Charter please help somewhere else!!!

hope no more arrests

June 29th, 2012
8:55 am

great story…damn good dawgs…

joeybiten

June 29th, 2012
9:24 am

excellent and thank you to these “real men”.

Mad Dog One

June 29th, 2012
10:10 am

Men like these are what make me proud to de a Georgia Bulldog fan. Sorry to say I only see a few like them comming down the pike. There are a some but the heart of these three will be hard to match. To give back to UGA and the state is only seen in a very few. As always GO DOGS AND GATA.

ATL BAMA FAN

June 29th, 2012
10:20 am

Those 3 men are class acts. Good form, sir.

Bulldawgman49

June 29th, 2012
11:21 am

Good Job Guys !!!!

franklind

June 29th, 2012
11:28 am

Good luck to a good man and great football player. Glad to hear he is doing well, he deserves it. Also glad to hear of a former football player who did not blow everything he earned away. You will be rememberwed Jon, for the good times as a Saint. Good luck to you, your brother and your good friend David.

Thankful Bulldog Alum

June 29th, 2012
11:46 am

I appreciate these guys. They are one of the bright spots in our legacy.

Jim

June 29th, 2012
12:06 pm

BklynDawg

June 29th, 2012
12:37 pm

Damn Good Dawg.

Congratulations and all the best on the next chapter of his life!

Frank Lane

June 29th, 2012
1:23 pm

Thanks for publishing something good.

Fan

June 29th, 2012
1:23 pm

Good young men doing good for others.

78Dawg

June 29th, 2012
3:03 pm

They make me proud..good for them.

bitter dawgggs fan/insider

June 29th, 2012
5:27 pm

SORRY BUT THE CROWELL STORY—-WELL A BAD STORY RATES BETTER THAN GOOD

faithfuldawg86

June 29th, 2012
6:10 pm

Great guy and a great story. @Bitter: What the heck? If you can’t think of anything to say, just shut up.

JJ the Jet Plane

June 29th, 2012
6:27 pm

I’m so happy to see some good news about a former Bulldog. Jon and Matty were both great dawgs. Always did the right thing and reaped their just rewards with great NFL Careers. Greenie too, What a Dawg. Winningest QB Georgia ever had. Bless their collective hearts. Let’s move on from the Crowell Debacle!

mike

June 29th, 2012
8:08 pm

I’m a Tech fan and it’s great to hear about good guys like this. The fact he and Matt played for Parkview is probably why they are well grounded and good all-around men. Parkview and Brookwood demand that.

whodat11

June 29th, 2012
9:38 pm

loved big 78 out there for the Saints, reliable and a survivor from the Jim haslett days. A characte player Payton kept around , unlike bums like Jonathan Sullivan, Aaron Brooks and Dontae Stallworth!

ugalee

June 30th, 2012
12:42 am

Enter your comments here

WDE

June 30th, 2012
5:20 pm

DGD he and his brother !

Rabid Dawg'84

July 2nd, 2012
6:36 am

Also a Parkview and UGA grad, love these guys! God bless.

Ogeechee Dawg

July 2nd, 2012
12:25 pm

Good article – good cause – wish them the best.

Chuck UGA

July 2nd, 2012
9:12 pm

Way to go Jon! See you in Athens for the 7th event! Been to them all and appreciate everything you three are doing. Thanks for letting me hold that ring after the Super Bowl title! Oh yeah, call Garrison Hearst and ask him to come back since he hasn’t been to this event since the inception.

Tommy

July 3rd, 2012
2:54 pm

If the NCAA does not require schools to tighten up their recruiting and sign guys like this, college football is heading for a slide with the fan base. They can change their football fields to soccer fields.

ugaclassof2004

July 3rd, 2012
6:38 pm

Go Jon! A damn good Dawg! Great student, leader, and athlete. A winner on every level! Boy I sure do miss seeing him and the David’s play. Great players who laid it all on the line. The Good Ole Days of Mark Richt football. I miss them…

macrotech

July 6th, 2012
2:00 am

The Stinchcomb brothers have been good men since they were in high school! LOVE that they’ve had solid careers and managed their lives successfully to this point! As a Tech fan, I have NO problem knowing them as Damn Fine Dawgs!!! Having never met David Greene…based on his efforts in this fund raiser…I’d imagine he’s in the same light! Good article…thanks!