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Everett attended ;Purdue University and was selected in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft. He was selected as the third pick in the first round by the Houston Oilers, and was the first quarterback taken that year. Unable to work out a contract agreement with Everett, the Oilers traded his rights to the Los Angeles Rams, with whom Everett played from 1986-93. He then played with the New Orleans Saints from 1994-96 and ended his career with a stint with the San Diego Chargers in1997.
Jim Everett was a quarterback for the Purdue Boilermakers from 1981-85. Originally recruited out of Eldorado High School in to play either safety or quarterback, Everett was soon slotted into the quarterback role where he narrowly missed out on being a four-year starter at Purdue, as a game day decision before his first game as a freshman led to Scott Campbell getting the nod over Everett. Campbell held off Everett for three years, one of which Everett was able to redshirt to gain an extra year of eligibility. Upon Campbell's graduation to a seven year career in the NFL, Everett took over the reins of the pass-oriented Boilermaker offense. Everett went on to break dozens of Purdue records.
As a junior, Everett led the Boilermakers to the 1984 Peach Bowl, where he passed for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Purdue lost the game to Virginia, quarterbacked by future Green Bay Packers Don Majkowski, 27-24. Everett is also the only Purdue QB to ever beat Michigan, Notre Dame and OSU all in the same season.
During the 1985 season, Everett led the NCAA in total offense (3,589 yards), which at the time was also a school record (since broken by Drew Brees). Everett also finished 6th in balloting for the 1985 Heisman Trophy.
Everett excelled in the classroom at Purdue also, earning regular membership on the Distinguished Students list while earning his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management. During his time at Purdue, Everett regularly tutored fellow Purdue athletes in courses such as calculus and statistical analysis. He was also initiated into the Sigma Chi Fraternity during his time as an undergraduate at Purdue.
Everett had a productive career, especially with the Rams, where he was a statistical leader in several passing categories. His Rams teams were successful early in his career, earning playoff berths in 1986, 1988, and 1989. However, after losing the 1989 NFC Championship game, he would not find himself back in the playoffs for the remainder of his career. Despite that he continued to produce fine statistics, and was rewarded with a trip to the 1991 Pro Bowl game, played in .
The 1993 season was a low point in his career. He played in only ten games but managed to throw twelve interceptions. He only threw eight touchdown passes, tying the lowest amount in his career and matching his rookie total when he only played in six games. The next season in New Orleans he turned his performance around. In three years with the Saints, he threw 22, 26, and 12 touchdowns.
Over his career, he managed to perform well enough to be among league leaders in several passing categories. His 203 touchdown passes rank 25th all-time, and his 34,837 passing yards are good enough for 14th all-time. He also ranks 15th all-time in completions and 16th all-time in pass attempts. On a year to year basis, he was among the top ten league leaders in the following categories: pass attempts (seven times), completions (eight times), pass yards (seven times), and passing touchdowns (six, including leading the league twice).
Jim Rome controversy
Following the 1989 regular season, Everett was reportedly "shellshocked" from the numerous times he was sacked and hit in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers (the 49ers won, 30-3). At one point in the game, Everett was so rattled that he collapsed to the ground in the pocket in anticipation of yet another sack, even though the 49ers' defensive players actually had not yet reached him – a play now known as Everett's "Phantom Sack". From then on he was perceived to shy away from hits, and later acknowledged that his confidence was never fully restored.
This eventually led to a confrontation in 1994 with then Talk2 host Jim Rome. Rome had regularly mocked Everett's aversion to taking hits on the field by addressing him as "Chris" Everett (a reference to female tennis player Chris Evert). When Everett appeared as a guest on Talk2, Rome wasted no time, applying the insult twice within the show's first 30 seconds. Everett warned Rome not to do so again, implying that physical confrontation would ensue otherwise. When Rome did, Everett overturned the table between them and shoved Rome to the floor while still on the air. It took eight seconds before a single white-uniformed security guard intervened to help Jim.
After his NFL career ended, Everett settled in Southern California. He received an MBA degree from Pepperdine University and started his own asset management business The Jim Everett Company. He also has spent some of his free time coaching children's football as well as raising his children as a single dad.