It's fair¬†tosay that in his six seasons as an NFL quarterback, David Klingler never had tocall out signals in Ugaritic. Now, though, he's proficient in the long-extinctlanguage of ancient Syria, as well as in Greek, Latin, French, German andHebrew. Oh, Aramaic and Syriac, too. "It's a lot like learning a newoffense," Klingler says of picking up a language. "In the NFL, I playedsix years with six offensive coordinators. Languages are like offenses--they'redifferent ways of saying the same things."
Klingler isstudying to become an Old Testament scholar, which requires knowledge ofnumerous tongues. He's working on his dissertation at Dallas TheologicalSeminary, with plans to teach. "I've had a lot of great coaches, and agreat coach and a great teacher are no different. They change what youbelieve."
The sixth pick inthe 1992 draft, Klingler is remembered as something of an NFL bust. After arecord-setting college career at Houston, he threw 16 TDs and 21 interceptionsduring four seasons with the Bengals, then had two quiet years as a Raider. ButKlingler, who lives in Katy, Texas, with his wife of 15 years, Katie, and theirsons Luke, 11, and James, 8, doesn't sound particularly busted. As he tells it,he came into a turbulent situation in Cincinnati, coped with coaching changesand had shoulder surgery after his third season, at which point he knew hiscareer was all but done. Before the operation he could heave a ball 85 yards;afterward he struggled to reach 35. The clear and quick end to his career,Klingler says, made the transition to the next phase of his life easier. Hesees former players hanging around the game, unable to move on. "I'm verythankful I didn't go down that road," he says. "It doesn't keep me upat night that it didn't work out."
A star at Houston, Klingler has now taken up theological study.
THEO WESTENBERGER/CORBIS/SYGMA (KLINGLER COVER)
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