3 Kitna, Jon

  Height: 6-2
  Weight: 220
  College: Central Washington
  Years: 15

PRO: The Dallas Cowboys acquired a veteran backup quarterback to Tony Romo in Jon Kitna when they traded Anthony Henry to Detroit after the 2008 season. Kitna, who is entering his 15th year in the league, has been a quality starter as well as a valuable backup throughout the years. In Dallas, he teams with one of his favorite targets while with the Detroit Lions in wide receiver Roy Williams. Kitna was forced into action in 2010 after Romo was lost for the season to injury and led the team to a 4-5 record in his nine starts and his first action since the 2008 season. He did not see any action during the regular season in 2009 as Romo was the only quarterback on the team to take all snaps. Kitna served as the Lions quarterback from 2006-07 and the first four games of 2008 before landing on Reserve/Injured with a back injury. In his first season as a Lion, he compiled one of the most productive seasons in team history as he set records for completions (372) and attempts (596) and was only the second Lions passer to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. By passing for 4,000 yards again in 2007, he became only one-of-nine passers in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. Prior to joining the Lions, he spent the previous five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Kitna was Cincinnati's starting quarterback for three seasons (2001-03) and a backup and mentor for Carson Palmer his final two seasons (2004-05). He originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent for Seattle in 1996 where he led the Seahawks to their first playoff appearance in a decade in 1999, his first full season as a starter. Prior to the 1997 season, he played for the Barcelona Dragons of the World League and led the Dragons to the league title game where he garnered World Bowl MVP honors, completing 23-of-31 passes for 401 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the Rhein Fire.


2/28/09: Traded to Dallas from Detroit.

10/14/08: Placed on Reserve/Injured with a back injury.

3/14/06: Signed a four-year contract with Detroit as an unrestricted free agent.

4/20/04: Re-signed a one-year contract with Cincinnati.

3/8/01: Signed a four-year contract with Cincinnati as an unrestricted free agent.

8/20/06: Signed to Seattle's practice squad.

4/25/96: Signed with Seattle as a rookie free agent.


  • Saw his first action as a Cowboy after Romo was injured against the N.Y. Giants (10/25) and went on to start nine games. Finished with 2,365 passing yards on 209-of-318 (65.7%) with 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with an 88.9 quarterback rating.
  • The 12 interceptions were the fewest of his career as a starter with at least nine starts.
  • His 65.7 completion percentage was good for fifth in the NFL, was ninth in yards-per-attempt (7.44) and 14th in quarterback rating (88.9) in 10 games played.
  • Also added 31 carries for 147 yards and one touchdown, a career long 29-yard rush.
  • For his career, ranks 36th all-time in yards (29,658), 31st in attempts (4,432), 24th in completions (2,671), 55th in touchdowns (168), 44th in interceptions (163) and 78th in passer rating (77.5).
  • Did not play as the backup quarterback at Washington (9/12), against Chicago (9/19), at Houston (9/26), against Tennessee (10/10) and at Minnesota (10/17).
  • Replaced Romo (fractured clavicle) midway through the second quarter against the N.Y. Giants (10/25) for his first action as a Cowboy. Finished the game 16-of-33 for 187 yards with two touchdowns as he led the squad to three scores (two touchdowns and one field) in his first appearance.
  • Made his first start since October 5, 2008 against Chicago while with Detroit and completed 34-of-49 passes for 379 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions against Jacksonville (10/31). His 379 yards marked the 13th 300-yard game of his career, first since a 302-yard effort at San Diego (12/16/07) while with the Lions and the third-most in his career - 446 at Philadelphia (9/23/07) and 411 against Pittsburgh (12/30/01). His 34 completions tied the third-most completions by a quarterback in franchise history (Romo 41 and 35, Aikman 34), while his 49 attempts tied for the eighth-most in club history.
  • Earned his first win as the Cowboys starting quarterback at the N.Y. Giants (11/14), passing for 372 yards, completing 13-of-22 passes with three touchdowns and one interception. Finished with a passer rating of 124.1, completing four passes over 44 yards (44, 45, 46 and 71). His three touchdown tosses was his first three-touchdown performance since throwing three while with Detroit at Oakland (9/9/07).
  • Threw for three touchdowns on 18-of-24 attempts for 147 yards with a quarterback rating of 129.7 against Detroit (11/21) as he led the club to its first home win of the season. His three touchdown passes marked the first time he had back-to-back games with three-or-more touchdowns since a three-game streak spanning the final two weeks of 2006 and the 2007 opener while with Detroit. Also was his second straight week with a passer rating over 120.0 - his first such streak since a 127.6 rating (with Cincinnati, 10/27/02) followed by a 146.8 (11/3/02). It was his first back-to-back 100-plus rating since 2007 (with Detroit, 9/23 and 9/30). Also rushed four times for 40 yards with a 29-yard touchdown on fourth-and-one. His 29-yard touchdown was the longest rush of his career (previous was at the N.Y. Jets, 12/6/98) and his 40 rushing yards was a single-game career-best. His 29-yard touchdown run also tied Roger Staubach (at Washington, 11/21/71) for the longest touchdown rush by a Cowboys quarterback.
  • Completed 30-of-42 passes (71.4%) for 313 yards with one interception against New Orleans (11/25). His 71.4 completion percentage was the sixth-highest by a Dallas quarterback on Thanksgiving Day, while his 313 passing yards marked his first 300-yard outing in his third Thanksgiving Day game. He had two Thanksgiving starts while with Detroit (2006 and 2007). It was his third 300-yard game of the season, the 14th of his career, and the eighth by a Dallas quarterback on Thanksgiving Day. His three 300-yard outings tie the second-most 300-plus yard outings in a season in his career - four in 2006 and three in 2007. Also rushed five times for 20 yards.
  • Led the team to the overtime victory at Indianapolis (12/5), completing 18-of-26 passes for 167 yards with one touchdown. Also rushed four times for 28 yards.
  • Threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns on 25-of-37 attempts for a 110.8 quarterback rating against Washington (12/19). Threw for 300-or-more yards four times on the season and 15 times through his career. His four from 2010 tie his 2006 and 2007 seasons for his single-season career-high.
  • Completed 12-of-20 passes for 115 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions at Arizona (12/25) before leaving the game late in the second quarter with a hip injury.
  • Did not play with an abdominal injury but served as the backup quarterback to McGee at Philadelphia (1/2/11).


  • Served as the back-up quarterback for all 16 regular season games and two playoff games.
  • Finished the 2009 preseason with a team-high 425 yards on 35-of-55 passes (63.6%) with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

    2008 (Detroit):

  • Named an offensive team captain for the second consecutive year.
  • Played in four games with four starts before a back injury landed him on Reserve/Injured. Was 68-of-120 (56.7%) for 758 yards and five touchdowns.
  • Completed 24-of-33 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns and one interception at Atlanta (9/7) with a 103.3 quarterback rating.
  • Was 21-of-41 for 276 yards against Green Bay (9/14) with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Since the beginning of 2006, passed for at least 200 yards in 30 games with Detroit, the most in the league over that 34-game span.
  • Made his 36th consecutive start against Chicago (10/5), but could not finish the game after a back injury forced him from the lineup. His 74 passing yards in the game moved him ahead of former Lions quarterback Charlie Batch (9,016) for eighth on Detroit's all-time passing yards list with 9,034.
  • Inactive at Minnesota (10/12) due to back injury.
  • Placed on Reserve/Injured on Oct. 14.

    2007 (Detroit):

  • Named a 2007 offensive team captain and started all 16 games for the club. Finished the season 355-of-561 passing (63.3%) for 4,068 yards with 18 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and an 80.9 passer rating.
  • Led a Lions offense that finished the season ninth in the NFL in passing.
  • Had 28 200-yard passing games since the beginning of 2006, the most in the NFL during that span.
  • By eclipsing 4,000 yards for the second consecutive season, became the first Lions quarterback with back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons.
  • Against Minnesota (9/16) led the team on its third consecutive game-winning drive in overtime. Completed 13-of-21 attempts (61.9%) with a touchdown and an interception in the first half before being shaken up and taken out of the game in the second quarter. With the score tied and 8:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, returned to the game and went nine-of-12 (75.0%) for 94 yards, putting the team in position to win the game three times. Recorded his first career reception on a batted ball, which he took nine yards upfield.
  • Set a single-game franchise record and career-high with 446 passing yards at Philadelphia (9/23). Also the second time in his 11-year career he surpassed 400 yards in a game to become the third player in team history to pass for 400 yards in a game and the first since Batch set a then team record with 436 yards at Arizona (11/8/01).
  • His 400-yard outing was the fifth time he topped 300 yards in a single game while with the Lions and tied quarterback Bobby Layne (1950-58) for second on the franchise's all-time list for 300-yard passing games.
  • Connected with wide receiver Roy Williams for a career-long 91-yard touchdown pass at Philadelphia (9/23), which tied the seventh-longest in team history and the longest since Batch hit wide receiver Johnnie Morton for a 98-yarder at Chicago (10/4/98). It also tied the eighth-longest play from scrimmage in franchise history and one-of-nine plays (8 pass, 1 rush) ever to go over 90 yards.
  • Finished with a passer rating of 137.3, which included 20-of-24 completions (83.3%) for 247 yards and two touchdowns against Chicago (9/30). His 83.3 completion percentage set a single-game best for a game in which he attempted at least 20 passes.
  • Ended the day at San Diego (12/16) with 26-of-45 passing for two touchdowns and a career-high tying five interceptions. His 302 passing yards marked his seventh 200-yard outing with the Lions.
  • Completed nine-of-16 attempts for 115 yards against Kansas City (12/23). With his first three passing attempts, reached 500 attempts on the year to mark the fifth time in team history a quarterback had thrown 500 passes in a season, and the second consecutive season in which Kitna accomplished the feat.
  • Finished the season 22-of-48 passing for 246 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions at Green Bay (12/30) to surpass 4,000 yards for the second-straight season.

    2006 (Detroit):

  • Finished second in attempts (596), fourth in passing yards (4,208 - career-high), first in completions (372) and ninth in touchdown passes (21) along with setting Lions single-season passing records in attempts and completions, while his 62.4 pass completion rate was second and his 21 touchdown passes fourth.
  • By throwing for over 4,000 yards on the season, became just the second quarterback in Lions history to accomplish the feat, joining Scott Mitchell (4,338 yards). His 4,208 passing yards, 596 attempts, 372 completions, and 156 rushing yards all set career-highs.
  • Also became the first Lions quarterback to rank in the NFL's top-five passing leaders since Mitchell ranked second with 4,338 yards at the end of the 1995 season.
  • Took every snap of the 2006 season - the first quarterback in Lions history to do so in a single season.
  • Recorded four 300-yard passing games which were the fourth-most in the NFL. His four 300-yard outings were the most by a Lions passer since Mitchell recorded a franchise-high of five in 1995.
  • He completed over 60.0 percent of his passes in 12 of the Lions 16 games.
  • Was the only quarterback in the NFL to throw for 200 yards 15 times in 2006, and was the first passer since Rams quarterback Kurt Warner (2001) to record 15 200-yard games in a season.
  • In his first start as a Detroit Lion against Seattle (9/10), completed 21-of-37 passes (56.8 percent) for 229 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions with a 75.2 quarterback rating.
  • Threw for a season-high 342 yards while completing 25-of-40 (62.5 %) attempts with two touchdowns and one interception against Green Bay (9/24).
  • Had a season-high attempts (43) and completions (29) for 280 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions with a rating of 81.5 at St. Louis (10/1). Finished the first half completing 10 straight passes.
  • Was 24-of-36 for 278 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Buffalo (10/15) to win his first game as the quarterback of the Lions.
  • Cashed in on a season-best three passing touchdowns to three different receivers while completing 22-of-36 passes (61.1%) for 269 yards and two interceptions at the N.Y. Jets (10/22).
  • Surpassed 20,000 passing yards (20,112) for his career after throwing for 269 yards against the Jets.
  • Registered his second 300-yard game of the season with 321 yards on 20-of-32 passes, including his season-long pass on a 60-yard touchdown strike to Williams against Atlanta (11/5).
  • Registered his third 300-yard passing game of the season with 314 yards at New England (12/3).
  • With 294 passing yards against Minnesota (12/10), it gave him 3,484 yards on the season, which tied Mitchell's 1997 total for the second-highest single-season total in Lions history. Also, by surpassing the 200-yard mark, he passed for at least 200 yards in 13 games becoming the only quarterback in the NFL to throw for at least 200 yards in all 13 games at the time.
  • Ran for 34 yards on a career-high tying seven attempts at Green Bay (12/17).
  • Completed 27-of-45 passes for 283 yards, tied his then season-high total of three touchdown passes and posted his then highest quarterback rating of the season (100.5) against Chicago (12/24). His 100.5 rating was the highest allowed by the Bears defense, which was ranked at the top of the NFC, and it was the only rating of 100.0 allowed by Chicago in 2006.
  • Connected on 28-of-42 passes for 306 yards, marking his fourth 300-yard passing outing of the season, with a season-high and career-high tying four touchdown passes and one interception to record a passer rating of 109.8, his highest of the season, at Dallas (12/31).

    2005 (Cincinnati):

  • Entered his final season with the Bengals as the backup to Carson Palmer, completing 17-of-29 passes (58.6%) for 99 yards with two interceptions as a reserve in three games.
  • Saw his first action of the season in the fourth quarter at Detroit (12/18) and led the offense on a field goal drive with two-of-three completions for six yards and an 11-yard rush.
  • Played the final offensive series against Buffalo (12/24) and went two-of-two passing for 17 yards.
  • Subbed for Palmer in the second quarter at Kansas City (1/1/06) and went the rest of the way, completing 13-of-24 passes for 76 yards and two interceptions.
  • Played 54 of the 56 offensive snaps in the Wild Card Playoff Game against Pittsburgh (1/8/06), entering the game after Palmer suffered a knee injury on Cincinnati's second offensive play. Completed 24-of-40 passes for 197 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

    2004 (Cincinnati):

  • Completed 61-of-104 passes (58.7%) for 623 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions with three starts in four games played.
  • Spent the majority of the season as the backup until entering Game 13 at New England (12/12) due to a season-ending injury to Palmer.
  • Posted a 93.8 passer rating in a relief role against the Patriots, going nine-of-13 for 126 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown pass to Kelley Washington in the fourth quarter.
  • In his first start, completed 16-of-32 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown, against Buffalo (12/19).
  • Led the Bengals to a last-minute victory at the N.Y. Giants (12/26), throwing a four-yard touchdown pass with 0:44 remaining. He completed 20-of-32 for 186 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
  • Directed his second straight win in the season finale at Philadelphia (1/2/05), completing 16-of-27 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown against the eventual NFC champions.

    2003 (Cincinnati):

  • Received Comeback Player of the Year honors from Associated Press and Pro Football Weekly after leading Cincinnati to an NFL-best improvement from 2002 to 2003 (from 2-14 record to 8-8).
  • Only NFL quarterback in 2003 to play every offensive snap for his team, and became the first player in Bengals history to throw every one of the team's passes in a season.
  • Passed for 3,591 yards on 324-of-520 attempts with a career-high passer rating of 87.4.
  • Had a career-high 26 touchdown passes (second in the AFC) while tossing 15 interceptions - the second-fewest in his career with a minimum of 10 starts.
  • Had 20 touchdowns and only one interception in the eight Bengals victories.
  • Threw 137 straight passes with no interceptions over a span of more than 17 quarters (from 11/9 to 12/7).
  • In the victory against Baltimore (10/19), had a then career-long 82-yard touchdown pass to Chad Johnson.
  • Posted his third 100-plus passer rating (102.7) of the season in a win against previously unbeaten Kansas City (11/16), including a 77-yard touchdown pass to Peter Warrick in the fourth quarter.
  • Tied his career-high with four touchdown passes (and no interceptions) in the win at San Diego (11/23).
  • Led a dramatic 24-20 comeback win at Pittsburgh (11/30), throwing the game-winning 18-yard touchdown pass with 0:13 remaining.

    2002 (Cincinnati):

  • After serving as a reserve for the first four games, revived a struggling Bengals offense when he came off the bench to start the final 12 games and finish with 313 completions for 3,216 yards, 12 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
  • Had 11 games (combined rushing and passing) of 300-or-more yards as well as six straight 350-yard games (Games 7-12), Cincinnati's longest such streak since 1986.
  • Threw for four touchdowns at Houston (11/3) to establish a career-high.
  • Rushed for a career-high four touchdowns on the season.
  • Finished with an 81.5 completion percentage on 22-of-27 in the win at Houston (11/3) - which was a career-high (minimum 10 passes).
  • Led the offense on a pair of fourth quarter touchdown drives to rally Cincinnati from a 13-7 deficit to a 20-13 win against New Orleans (12/22).

    2001 (Cincinnati):

  • Signed with the Bengals on March 8 as an unrestricted free agent, won the starting job after a preseason competition with Scott Mitchell and went on to start 15 games.
  • Set a team record with an NFL-high 581 pass attempts.
  • Opened the season winning his first two starts - home wins over New England (9/9) and Baltimore (9/23) - becoming the first Bengals quarterback since Greg Cook in 1969 to accomplish the feat.
  • The win over Baltimore ended a 12-game winning streak (including postseason) for the Ravens.
  • Threw a franchise-record and career-high 68 passes in the overtime win against Pittsburgh (12/30), tying the third-most in NFL history. He finished with a caeer-best 35 completions for 411 yards and two touchdowns and won AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
  • With 340 passing yards the following week at Tennessee (1/6/02), set a team record with 751 for passing yards in consecutive games.

    2000 (Seattle):

  • Began the season as the Seahawks starter (Games 1-5) before being replaced by Damon Huard for three games (Games 6-8). He replaced an injured Huard at Oakland (10/22) and went on to start seven of the final eight games.
  • Seahawks were 6-6 in his 12 starts and 0-4 in other games.
  • Posted a completion percentage of 62.0 for the season, completing 259-of-418 passes for 2,658 yards, 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
  • Led Seattle to a 17-15 victory against San Diego (11/5), throwing two touchdowns.
  • Engineered a 27-24 victory over Oakland (12/16), eventual AFC West winner, leading a 50-yard drive in the final minutes for the winning touchdown.

    1999 (Seattle):

  • Started 15 games and led the Seahawks to the AFC West title with a 9-7 record for the franchise's first playoff berth since 1988.
  • Finished third in the AFC with 23 touchdown passes while completing 270-of-495 passes (59.5%) for 3,346 yards and 16 interceptions.
  • Did not play at Chicago (9/19) due to a sprained toe suffered in the season opener against Detroit (9/12).
  • Named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October after guiding the team to a 3-1 record with seven touchdown passes and only two interceptions.
  • In Seattle's playoff game against Miami (1/9/00), completed 14-of-30 for 162 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in a 20-17 loss.

    1998 (Seattle):

  • Called on to start the final five games for the Seahawks after being the third quarterback in 10 of the first 11 games.
  • Led Seattle to a 3-2 record over the final five games and earned his team's Unsung Hero award from the NFL Players Association.
  • For the season, was 98-of-172 (57.0%) for 1,177 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.
  • Made his first start against Tennessee (11/29), and earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, passing for 298 yards and two touchdowns, one interception and leading a fourth quarter drive for the winning field goal.
  • Threw touchdown passes of 70 and 57 yards to Joey Galloway in a span of 3:00 in a 32-31 loss at the N.Y. Jets (12/6).
  • Rallied the Seahawks to 17 fourth quarter points in a 27-23 win against Indianapolis (12/20).

    1997 (Seattle/World League):

  • Opened the year with the Barcelona Dragons of the World League.
  • Named MVP in the World Bowl championship game, completing 23-of-31 passes for 401 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Rhein Fire.
  • Was runner-up for World League MVP honors after leading the league in passes (317), completions (171), yards (2,448), and touchdowns (22) in 10 games.
  • Rejoined the Seahawks for the NFL season.
  • Had a memorable first NFL start at Oakland (12/14), subbing for injured Warren Moon and leading the second-biggest comeback in franchise history (from a 21-3 deficit to a 22-21 win). Completed 23-of-37 passes for 283 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Had only played three NFL plays prior to starting.
  • Concluded the season with 371 yards on 31-of-45 passes (68.9%) with one touchdown and two interceptions.

    1996 (Seattle):

  • Signed by Seattle as an undrafted free agent on April 25.
  • Waived on Aug. 19 and signed Aug. 20 to the Seahawks practice squad, where he spent the entire season.


  • First-team NAIA All-America choice as a senior at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash.
  • Started 14 games and led the Wildcats to the NAIA championship game, completing 364-of-576 passes for 4,616 yards with 42 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
  • Finished his career completing 911-of-1,550 passes (58.8%) for 12,353 yards, 99 touchdowns and 59 interceptions in 43 games.
  • Had 17 games with over 300 yards passing.
  • Threw for nearly twice as many touchdowns (93) as interceptions (47) over his last three seasons.


  • Jon Kitna lettered in football, baseball and basketball at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash.
  • Graduated from Central Washington with a degree in math education.
  • He and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons, Jordan and Jalen, and a daughter, Jada.
  • Also is the guardian of two cousins, Chris and Casey.
  • He and his wife plan to be high school teachers when he retires from football, Jon teaching math and Jennifer teaching physical education.


  • Started the Jon and Jennifer Kitna Eternal Blessings Foundation in 2001, supporting various Christian ministries.
  • Started a Christian-based ministry at Remann Hall in Tacoma, recruiting teammates to join him in spending time with the teenagers at the center.
  • Donated Lions home game tickets to the Boys & Girls Club through the Lions CATS (Caring Athletes Ticket Service) for Kids program and took time after home games to meet the youth that attended the game.
  • Took part in the 2007 Lions Pet Calendar which helps to raise money for the Dearborn Animal Shelter.
  • Participated in 17th annual Detroit Lions Invitational golf outing that raised more than $100,000 for Detroit Lions Charities.
  • 2009 Spoke to the Highland Park (Dallas, Texas) High School Football team upon arriving in Dallas.
  • Annual Team Holiday Hospital Visits.
  • Salvation Army Angel Tree Christmas Program.
  • Dallas Cowboys annual Luncheon and Cowboys Family Cookbook benefitting Happy Hill Farm.
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas.
  • Support of the One Heart Project.