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Former Raiders top pick quarterback Todd Marinovich is returning to play football... at 48

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Not as a coach. Not as a front office person. To play.

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Todd Marinovich has been in a news a lot more lately than one would think for a player who hasn’t set foot on a football field in 25 years. And most of those headlines were the wrong kind. So, it’s refreshing to see something positive.

He has announced he will be suiting up for the developmental league team, the SoCal Coyotes as reported by the Desert Sun.

The former 24th overall pick by the Raiders spent just two seasons with the team before his career ended. He liked his marijuana and just couldn’t stay away from it long enough to put his immense talent together and make an NFL career.

A total of 8 games is all this former USC and Matee Dei star passer played at the pro level.

His latest run-in with the law came in August of last year, when he was found naked in a neighbor’s backyard in possession of drugs — meth and marijuana to be exact.

That was just the latest in a string of drug and alcohol related arrests that have occurred over the past two decades. There was a charge of growing marijuana in ‘97, an assault charge in 2000, suspected heroin use in 2001, drug paraphernalia in ‘05, drug possession and resisting arrest in ‘07, and in ‘09 for failing to appear in court as part of the deal he struck after his ‘07 arrest.

As the ‘Once a Raider, always a Raider’ saying suggests, you should root for Marinovich to clean himself up and turn his life around. What you don’t expect is for him to return to even semi-professional football at 48 years of age.

Ten months ago — not long after his last arrest — Marinovich moved away from Orange County and Newport Beach and out to the desert. That seems, at least for now, to have done the trick.

Recently Marinovich joined the Coyotes coaching staff. But it wasn’t long before he found he had the itch to actually suit up again and play. So, he held a small press conference Saturday to make the announcement, saying among other things “I can’t think of anything more fun” as his reason for his decision.

As to the question of whether he can actually play at 48 he explains his throwing ability as “muscle memory” and that he is working toward the physical conditioning aspect of it.

He will take the field for his first practice on August 10 at Shadow Hills High School in Indio which is about two hours East of Los Angeles in the Palm Desert.