Anthony Lavon Wright (born February 14, 1976) is a former American football quarterback, who played in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants. He played college football at South Carolina.
Wright attended West Craven High School, before moving on to the University of South Carolina. He became three-year starter for the Gamecocks, leading them to a record of 12-21 over the three years, including a 1-10 campaign in his senior season. Since then, Wright was banned from attending evebts at the University of South Carolina for being accused of throwing games.
Wright made the Pittsburgh Steelers roster in 1999 as an undrafted free agent, where he was the team's fourth-string quarterback (behind Kordell Stewart, Mike Tomczak, and Pete Gonzalez). He was waived on August 27, 2000, in favor of rookie Tee Martin.
On August 30, 2000, Wright was signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their practice squad. Even though he hadn't play in an NFL regular season game, he was scouted in a preseason game between the Cowboys and the Steelers.
In November, he was promoted to the active roster after backup quarterback Randall Cunningham was injured. On December 10, when Troy Aikman suffered a concussion playing against the Washington Redskins, Wright played the remaining three quarters in a 32–13 win. Although he had only attempted 5 passes (3 completions) in the previous game, he was given the start in the next game against the New York Giants, which resulted in a 17–13 loss. He would also start the final game of the season against the Tennessee Titans, which resulted in a 31-0 loss after he had three critical turnovers in the third quarter.
In 2001, he became the backup quarterback after Tony Banks was cut. When starter Quincy Carter injured his throwing thumb, Wright became his replacement and started on September 23 against the San Diego Chargers, but had two costly turnovers in a 21-32 loss. The next week he started in an 18-40 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, in which he was ineffective. On October 7, he replaced an injured Carter but the team still lost 21-28 against the Oakland Raiders. The next week he started on Monday Night Football and contributed to a 9-7 win against Tony Banks and the Washington Redskins. Having a chronic right knee injury, he decided to have his knee scoped to repair the cartilage damage, forcing him to sit the rest of the season. The Cowboys would use a combination of Clint Stoerner and Ryan Leaf as the starters until Carter recovered from a torn hamstring, starting a franchise-high four quarterbacks in a season.
Head coach Dave Campo released Wright from the team on September 1, 2002, following the acquisition of quarterback Chad Hutchinson during the offseason, while stating that Stoerner was better suited for third string quarterback role, in light of Wright's ambition to be a starter.
Wright was signed by the Baltimore Ravens to their practice squad in 2002. After first round draft choice Kyle Boller injured his thigh in a game against the St. Louis Rams, Wright was activated from the practice squad on October 15.
After the Ravens lost to the Miami Dolphins in his first start 6-9, Wright led a spectacular comeback against the Seahawks; with the score tied at three in the final minute of the first half, the Seahawks scored two quick touchdowns, and stormed to a 41-24 lead with seven minutes remaining, but Wright erupted with four touchdown throws and 319 passing yards in a 44-41 overtime triumph. Ravens head coach Brian Billick gave the game ball to Wright's wife, for waiting until after the contest to induce labor.
The Ravens won five of their last six games with Wright posting a 5-2 record and having a critical role in the team reaching the playoffs, where they lost a close game against the Tennessee Titans with a score of 20-17, with the difference being a 46-yard field goal with 29 seconds left. He finished the season with 1,199 passing yards, 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
Wright missed the 2004 season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Following another injury to Boller during the first game of the 2005 season, he was named the starting quarterback, but was again demoted after having a 2-5 record.
With the departure of Carson Palmer's former backup quarterback Jon Kitna to the Detroit Lions, Wright signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals on April 21, 2006, winning a competition with Craig Krenzel and Doug Johnson for the backup job.
On June 7, 2007, Wright was showcased in a quarterbacks OTA feature on giants.com in an "amazing toss", accurately throwing a football into a dumpster across the practice field.
New York Giants
On April 13, 2007, he signed as a free agent with the New York Giants, throwing him into a four-quarterback scramble for roster spots with Eli Manning, Tim Hasselbeck, and Jared Lorenzen. He was named the third string quarterback in a season that saw the team win Super Bowl XLII, beating the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
On August 18, 2008, Wright suffered a back injury in a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns and was eventually placed on the injured reserve list on August 30. He wasn't re-signed the next season and decided to announce his retirement.
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