Old Coug players not impressed with Halliday

TWO PROMINENT Washington State offensive linemen of the 1990s -- first-team All-American and seven-year NFL veteran Scott Sanderson and 1997 Rose Bowl mainstay Ryan McShane -- were not favorably impressed by former Cougar quarterback Connor Halliday's comments in a lengthy profile piece by Newsweek magazine that came out Sunday.

In a stern but thoughtful Facebook entry, Sanderson said, "The Coug in me feels for this young man and his disappointment.”

Sanderson, who played at WSU from 1992-96 and now lives in Nashville, added:

"Then I read the following quote in the article and I became frustrated with this generation's view that they deserve to be rewarded just because they tried hard: 'I felt so helpless. I have battled through so much, and I have never gotten a reward for this'. Conner the world owes you nothing! The trials in our lives present two options; you can come out Bitter or you can come out Better! There is purpose in our pain. How we respond to adversity reveals our character and defines our legacy. I hope you choose wisely."

The post drew likes from former Cougar players Shaumbe Wright-Fair, Jim Eucker and Reed Raymond and a succinct written endorsement from McShane, who colorfully instructed Halliday to “wake up” and "do something."

Another former WSU player telephoned CF.C on Sunday and wondered, “What the hell was he thinking with that? He comes off like a whiny, pampered prima donna … What a disgrace.”

They were not alone in their disappointment. Dozens of comments on Facebook and the Cougfan.com message boards were critical of what, to paraphrase in broad brush strokes, sounded to them like an entitled attitude by Halliday.

"Article screams 'me, me, me'," wrote one CF.C poster.

A number of commenters viewed Halliday sympathetically. Their thinking tended to be built around the fact Halliday broke his leg late in the 2014 season, that his parents got divorced, his own brief marriage fell apart, and the CFL’s B.C. Lions released him after one day.

The majority of fans posting on Facebook and the message boards, however, were of a different bent — ostensibly, it seemed, because he walked away from the NFL without trying and now appears to be complaining about it.

The article marked Halliday's first public explanation why he abruptly left the Redskins last May. He said his "mind wasn't in the right place" because he was bitter about not being drafted after the team had indicated to him that he would be.

Halliday signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent.

After leaving the team on the eve of training camp, Halliday said, “I was so down, and I felt so little. I felt so helpless. I have battled through so much, and I have never gotten a reward for this.”

Halliday is living with his mom in Spokane and looking for work while maintaining the possibility of a return to football.

“I am disappointed that I’m one of those stories,” says Halliday. “‘Do you know Connor Halliday? He had all the talent in the world, but it just didn’t work out for him’.”

TO READ THE NEWSWEEK STORY, CLICK TO "Connor Halliday was a lock for the NFL – until he found all the doors locked”

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