Much-traveled Shea Patterson remains loyal to Shreveport

A lot of folks distance themselves from Shreveport at the drop of a hat.

Not Shea Patterson.

Sunday, the kid – he’s still just 25 years old – re-emerged on the football scene as the quarterback of the Michigan Panthers in the United States Football League. A nightmarish start against Houston led to Patterson getting benched in his American professional debut, but like he’s always seemed to do, Patterson resurrected himself and nearly authored a miraculous comeback.

Why should we care? Why should we claim him? He still claims us.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, the former Calvary Baptist Academy quarterback isn’t from here and he spent just two high school years (2013, 2014) in town. After his time with the Cavaliers, Patterson, who played his freshman year on the Mexican border in Hidalgo, Texas, made a controversial exit to play his senior prep season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The top-ranked high school quarterback in the nation then shipped to Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. After two years and just 10 appearances with the Rebels, the former five-star recruit transferred to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan in 2018.

He won 19 games with the Wolverines, but didn’t beat hated rival Ohio State – all that matters to many backing Big Blue.

Sunday, Patterson honored the memory of his late Buckeye counterpart, Dwayne Haskins — recently killed on a Florida interstate — by writing the quarterback’s nickname and number, “Simba 7,” on his wrist tape.

Patterson was not selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was then waived by the Kansas City Chiefs not long after he signed as a free agent. Two Canadian Football League (Vancouver and Montreal) stints later, Patterson finds himself in the rebirth of the USFL.

Despite a circuitous route that’s included several stops, Patterson has stayed true to Shreveport.

Media guide at Ole Miss: Shea Patterson, from Shreveport.

Media guide at Michigan: Hometown, Shreveport.

Michigan Panthers: Shea Patterson, hometown, Shreveport.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder was the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s USFL draft, but two early fumbles – one returned for a touchdown after the Panthers had reached Houston’s 4 – led head coach Jeff Fisher to turn to backup, and former NFL signal-caller, Paxton Lynch.

Lynch wasn’t the answer and quickly gave way to Patterson again.

Trailing 17-0, Patterson tossed his first touchdown pass as a professional – a 8-yard strike to Lance Lenoir Jr.

With the Panthers down five points in the waning moments, Patterson drove Michigan down the field. Facing fourth-and-26 at the Gamblers’ 30, Patterson found a receiver in the corner of the end zone with 1 second remaining, but La’Michael Pettway momentarily bobbled the ball and couldn’t retain possession before his momentum carried him out of the back of the end zone.

Patterson finished 17-of-25 for 192 yards and a touchdown. He added 31 yards on the ground.

“In the game of football, you don’t turn the football over like we did and win very many (games),” Fisher told the media following the game. “Both of (the quarterbacks) are gonna play. We just have to minimize some of these mistakes.

“The quarterbacks will bounce back, they’ll compete this week in practice and we’ll see what happens,” Fisher said. “I like this team. They’ll bounce back.”

Wherever this latest venture takes Patterson, it’s clear part of Patterson remains in Shreveport.