Paul McDonald (American football)

Paul McDonald

refer to caption

McDonald walks the sidelines before a game between USC and UVA, 2008.
No. 16, 14
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1958-02-23) February 23, 1958
Place of birth: Montebello, California
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 184 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school: Bishop Amat Memorial (CA)
College: USC
NFL Draft: 1980 / Round: 4 / Pick: 109
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
TDINT: 24–37
Yards: 5,269
Passer rating: 65.7
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Paul Brian McDonald (born February 23, 1958) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football for the University of Southern California.

Early years

McDonald attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School, before accepting a scholarship from the University of Southern California.

He became the starter at quarterback as a junior and helped the team capture a share of the national championship in the 1978 season, while passing for 1,690 yards with 19 touchdowns (school record) and 7 interceptions.

The next year he posted 2,223 passing yards with 18 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. His only loss came against Arizona State University, after injuries to the Trojans' top two centers led to several fumbled snaps that opened the door for Sun Devil and future NFL quarterback Mark Malone to win 20-7. He helped beat Ohio State University 17-16, after it entered the 1980 Rose Bowl as the number one ranked team in the nation.

He was known for his poise and as a winner, finishing his college career with a 22-1-1 record.[1]

Professional career

Cleveland Browns

McDonald was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round (109th overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft.

He replaced Brian Sipe (who was suffering from a sore throwing arm) in the last three games of the strike-shortened 1982 season, posting a 2-1 record and helping the team make the playoffs that had been expanded to 16 teams. He started in the first round of the playoffs, a 10-27 loss against the Oakland Raiders, after throwing for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions.[2] Sipe won back the starting job the next season.

In 1984, the Browns did not re-sign Sipe and gave the starting job to McDonald, who posted a 5-11 record after registering 3,472 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

In 1985, he lost his starting job to first round draft choice Bernie Kosar and was eventually waived on June 26, 1986. He left after passing for 5,269 yards, 24 touchdowns and 37 interceptions.

Seattle Seahawks

On July 16, 1986, he signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. He was released on August 26.[3]

Dallas Cowboys

On November 4, 1986, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent to be the third-string quarterback, after starter Danny White suffered a broken right wrist during the 17-14 loss against the New York Giants.[4] He became the first left hander quarterback to make the team in franchise history.

In 1987, he beat rookie Kevin Sweeney for the third-string quarterback job during training camp. After the players went on a strike on the third week of the season, those games were canceled (reducing the 16 game season to 15) and the NFL decided that the games would be played with replacement players. Sweeney was signed to be a part of the Dallas Cowboys replacement team, had success and was kept on the roster for the rest of the year along with McDonald. He was released after never playing a down on August 23, 1988.[5]

Personal life

McDonald does radio color commentary for USC Trojans football games and lives in Newport Beach, California.[6] He won the award for being the best radio color analyst given yearly by the prestigious Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.

His son Mike, was the third string quarterback for the USC Trojans during the 2005 season.

See also


  1. "Paul McDonald, Millennium Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  2. "Raiders Advance With 27-10 Victory". Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  3. "Transactions". Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  4. "Newswire". Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  5. "Transactions". Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  6. "As USC's Analyst, He's a Left-Handed Complement". Retrieved December 27, 2015.

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