As the son of a starting NFL quarterback, Myers Park freshman Owen McCown said he can sometimes feel a little pressure when he’s playing.
“Yeah,” he said, “there’s a little bit, obviously, because everyone is watching you and knows you as the football player’s son. But it’s also kind of cool because you can get some attention and get looked up to.”
Owen McCown, 15, is the son of New York Jets starting quarterback Josh McCown.
After being released by the Browns after the 2016 season, McCown became the primary starter for the Jets last season and set single-season career highs with 297 completions, a 67.3 completion percentage and nearly 3,000 yards passing.
‘Very, very passionate’
Part of his offseason has been spent at Myers Park, where he’s served as a de facto assistant coach to Scott Chadwick and, frankly, shocked the Mustangs’ coach with his attention to detail.
“We went to the Catawba (College) 7-on-7 and he meets me at the school at 6:30 a.m.,” Chadwick said. “And he’s filling up coolers with ice. That’s the kind of guy he is. Quite honestly, it’s the reason he’s stayed in the league as long as has has — because he has been incredible in locker rooms. He does the same thing for us.”
Chadwick met McCown eight years ago, shortly after McCown finished playing two seasons with the Panthers.
“He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever been around,” Chadwick said of Josh McCown. “He’s a guy of immense integrity but a guy that’s very, very passionate about whatever he gets involved in. When he coached with me at Marvin (Ridge), he was at every coaches’ meeting, every practice, every team event.”
McCown coached with Marvin Ridge during the 2011 and 2012 season, and he and Chadwick became good friends.
“Both of those years, it was very weird,” Chadwick said. “As soon as our season was over, Jay Cutler got hurt. We got knocked out of (the high school) playoffs by Charlotte Catholic on Friday. And on Sunday after we were done, both years, Jay Cutler got hurt and he went to the Bears.”
Back to Charlotte
McCown was living in Texas when he famously signed a one-year, $10 million dollar deal with the Jets for this season. He signed on his phone in a Chick-fil-A drive-thru.
McCown decided to move his family back to Charlotte, a city he’d loved before, and he decided to move into the Myers Park district. He figured it was a good school. It was close to the airport, and he could reunite with Chadwick.
“We missed Charlotte and loved our time here the first time around,” McCown said. “We knew Myers Park was a good school and the time I spent out with Scott Chadwick before, and seeing him run a program, it gave me comfort knowing my boys would be there under him.”
On Monday, Owen McCown will attend his first official high school football practice at Myers Park, beginning his dream of one day being the starting varsity quarterback for the Mustangs. Not long after he gets started, his younger brother, Aiden, will begin his eighth-grade season at Carmel Middle School.
They’ll eventually play together at Myers Park.
For now, Owen McCown, 15, is a rising freshman, a 6-foot, 145-pound leftie who showed off a very accurate 3-point shot while playing basketball this summer for Pro Skills Elite.
Owen is an already on a watch-list of national quarterbacks in the class of 2022. Chadwick thinks it’s warranted.
“He’s got a chance to be really, really good,” Chadwick said of Owen McCown. “It’s hard to project a rising freshman kid but in 7-on-7 tournaments that he’s ... played, he’s been very impressive. I think our older guys have been impressed with him, too. They have a lot of respect for where his ability is at right now.”
More celebrity family ties
Owen is not the only quarterback in the Charlotte area with famous family connections.
Drake Maye (6-foot-3, 190) transferred to Myers Park from Hough. The sophomore’s father, Mark, is one of the best high school football players in Mecklenburg County history. Mark Maye played quarterback at Independence High and then at North Carolina, where Drake’s brother, Luke, is now an all-ACC basketball star.
At Mallard Creek, 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior Casey Kelly transferred in from New York. He’s the younger brother of Denver Broncos QB Chad Kelly and the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, the Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl quarterback.
And with Maye and senior Wriley McKeown on the team battling for the starting spot, Owen will likely play junior varsity this season.
He’s just fine with that. Owen McCown said he simply wants to get better.
“The greatest thing (with having a NFL player for a dad) is anything you need, I can ask him and he has the right answer,” Owen said. “He helps me every day. And I want to be a role model for others, a leader, all that. I want to be a good player. He’s helping me get there.”
Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr