NFL Draft: Pro Day Q&A with Colt Brennan

In this exclusive Pro Day Q&A with Hawaii QB Colt Brennan,'s NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber spoke with Brennan about his Pro Day experience, what teams he talked to and what went into his decision to have hip surgery three weeks before the draft. All of that and much more inside...

Chris Steuber: How was your Pro Day?

Colt Brennan: The Pro Day was great. I weighed in at 218 pounds. I thought that all the receivers [Davone Bess, Jason Rivers, Ryan Grice-Mullen and C.J. Hawthorne] did well, but the bummer was that three of them (Bess, Rivers and Grice-Mullen) came up lame. Bess strained his hamstring during his 40, so he wasn’t really running routes. Rivers strained his groin or hamstring, and Grice-Mullen cramped up. But that was fine, because I just wanted to show the scouts that I have great footwork underneath the center. I also wanted to show how strong my arm had gotten and how much bigger I am now. It’s much easier for me to throw a football now that I put on an extra 30 pounds. A lot of scouts and a lot of agents walked up to me afterwards and said you did a lot of good for yourself today. That’s what everyone kept saying. I’m pretty stoked about that.

CS: The weight that you’ve been able to put on since the Senior Bowl has been incredible. You weighed in at Mobile at 185 pounds and you just said you weighed in at 218 on Tuesday. What did scouts in attendance have to say about your weight gain?

Brennan: They just asked my agents how I put so much weight on, that’s all. But when I was at Hawaii, I wasn’t thinking long term; I wasn’t thinking about the NFL. I was just thinking about the present. I was taking six classes and got caught up in a crazy world of demand with every win. I was never in the weight room; I barely had time to eat. All of that came to an end over the last three months when all I had to do was wake up, lift, eat and run. I was put on a special diet and I had food sent to my house every day. I think anyone could gain this much weight if that’s all they had to do for three months.

Brennan throws a pass during practice at Hawaii.
AP Photo/Ronen Zilberman

CS: How many passes did you throw, and were you on a passing count?

Brennan: I went through a 45-minute workout, and I threw 88 passes. Like I said, we ran into some problems with our receivers and had to do nine-routes and post routes, because they didn’t hold up too well. They scripted 88 plays, and we got through it, but unfortunately we only had one receiver who could run a full route the second half of the script.

CS: How many of the 88 passes did you complete?

Brennan: I’m not sure of the exact number, but it was in the 60’s, I know that. But like I said, we had some issues with the receivers, because a few of them came up lame. I know a couple of times when I threw the long ball, I put it up there, and the receiver would come up lame and wasn’t able to finish the route.

CS: How many people were in attendance?

Brennan: I really don’t know. The guy who ran the Pro Day said that there was somebody from every team in attendance.

CS: Did any teams talk to you after the Pro Day?

Brennan: Yeah, they came up to me and said great job. I talked to a lot of teams.

CS: Did any teams in particular show more interest than others?

Brennan: It’s tough, because I literally talked to 20 teams. I couldn’t decipher if one team was interested over another.

CS: I’ve heard that the Chicago Bears are interested in you. Did anyone from Chicago come up to you that day?

Brennan: I definitely talked to somebody from Chicago, and that’s a place that is a great opportunity for any quarterback. I would love to go to Chicago more than anything; that would be awesome. But there were other teams as well. I think the Jets had their offensive coordinator (Brian Schottenheimer) there and some others. There were a bunch of other teams there that were in full force.

CS: An announcement was made at your Pro Day that you are going to have hip surgery next week. How did scouts and NFL personnel in attendance handle that news?

Brennan: When I talked to coaches and scouts that approached me after my workout, I didn’t get the feeling like, “Wow, that’s too bad.” I didn’t sense that. I got the sense they understood why I was doing it, and I just reassured them with my performance that I can move and throw fine with the injury and that it isn’t a big deal. I just want to fix this so that I’m 100-percent. I know the media is going to make a big deal out of this, because that’s the way the media is, and that’s the way the draft is. I know this could hurt my draft chances, but I’m not worried about that. It’s not a detrimental injury, but if a team was on the border of taking me early in the draft, and it was between me and another QB, maybe it hurts me that way. Who knows?

CS: What was your first reaction when you heard you had a tear in your hip?

Brennan: To be honest with you, I was glad, because I knew there was something wrong, and I was happy that it was correctable. The scarier thing would have been if they said, “We don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

CS: Did the doctors suggest the surgery, or was it your decision?

Brennan: It was a mutual thing. I hurt it the first day at the Senior Bowl, and I’ve been pushing through it ever since. I haven’t given it a chance to heal, and honestly, if I wanted to, I could just rest it up for the next two or three months and not do anything but rehab, and eventually it would heal. But if I just get it scoped and rehab for two months, in July I’ll be 100-percent. It just made sense to have the surgery.

CS: Who is performing the surgery?

Brennan: Dr. Philippon; he repaired Priest Holmes’ hip. Priest Holmes tore his labrum a lot worse than mine and the next year after his surgery he broke all of those records in the NFL. Dr. Philippon is regarded as one of the best hip doctors in the world, and he feels that I have a minor injury and that it will be a minor surgery. He feels that when I come back, I’ll be better than ever.

Brennan answers questions from the media at the Scouting Combine.
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

CS: At the Combine, when you had to go through all your medical evaluations, didn’t one of the doctors discover this tear in your labrum?

Brennan: I told them about my hip at the Combine. They had my MRI, but like I said it’s such a small injury. Unless you’re a specialist and know what you’re looking at, you don’t really see it. That’s why I wasn’t diagnosed for a while. It even took two looks from a specialist to see that there was a small tear in my hip. He said we can go in there and fix it up really quick. I wondered about that myself, about them not seeing it at the Combine. I was wondering why I didn’t hear about this at the Combine when I had an MRI.

CS: Did you speak with your agents and other people about the pros and cons of having surgery at this time?

Brennan: They had a letter presented at my Pro Day, and they had all the information and my doctor listed there. They gave the letter to every team and to the media. It states that I injured my hip the first day at the Senior Bowl and that I tried to run at the Combine and work through it, but my hip didn’t feel right. I came back from the Combine and went to four different therapists, and I was trying everything to get it right. Finally, I went to a specialist that did all the MRI’s, and they looked into and they said you got this really small tear on your labrum, and it’s probably causing all of your hamstring problems, and it’s probably why you don’t feel 100-percent. They said because you’ve been pushing it you haven’t given it a chance to heal. They said we can do a very small procedure, clean it out, fix it up; you’ll be down for about two months and be better than ever. I just talked it over and went over everything and I thought, “Let’s just do it.” I could sit here and hide the injury and do what some people might do, hide it from coaches, get drafted and then deal with it down the road. But that’s a no win situation for anyone. Maybe this hurts my draft chances, maybe it doesn’t, but I wanted to show some integrity and say it’s not a big deal so that when a team does draft me, I’ll feel more confident in where I’m going and show people that this won’t be a serious problem after all.

CS: Did your hip bother you at all when you were throwing at your Pro Day?

Brennan: The hip didn’t bother me at all throwing and I showed that in all the drills. I did footwork drills, and I did a lot of running as well. The only problem is when I have to go full speed, I don’t feel 100-percent.

CS: What kind of timetable did the doctors give you as far as when you can get on the field and throw again?

Brennan: I can start working out ten days after the surgery. Then a month after the surgery, I can start to push my hip and rehab it. They say that I should be fully recovered in two – three months. At the latest, I’m looking to get back the first or second week of July.

CS: So you will miss mini-camp, but you will be ready for training camp?

Brennan: Exactly; a lot of times rookie quarterbacks sit out the first mini-camp and then participate in the next two. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to participate in mini-camp, but I’ll be 100-percent back and ready for training camp.

CS: Even though you won’t be able to participate in mini-camp, you’ll still be in attendance, right?

Brennan: Definitely, I’m sure when I get drafted the team will take a big interest in getting my hip healthy as well. I’ll probably have my rehab moved from California to wherever I get drafted. When I get drafted, the plan is to move out to wherever I get drafted and live there all summer. I’m going to get myself involved in the playbook as much as possible, get as many mental reps as possible, wait to get back to 100-percent, workout hard in July and come August be ready to go.

CS: I’m sure you’re disappointed with how everything worked out. I know you were excited after the Scouting Combine to have a month off prior to your Pro Day, so that you could get healthy and stronger. But since your hip didn’t heal correctly during that time off, and now that surgery is your next step, I’m sure it’s disappointing. What are your thoughts on all that has transpired?

Brennan: It’s a setback; there’s always something. I battled an ankle injury last spring, I had a concussion, and now I have this torn hip. I’ve just been battling through injuries all year. To finally hear that in July I’ll be 100-percent, that’s what I can’t wait for; to be fully healthy. I’m just glad we found out what was wrong and why I didn’t feel normal.

CS: The progress you’ve made is tremendous, but obviously this injury is a setback and it’s back to resting, waiting and getting healthy. How do you stay positive and upbeat in a situation like this?

Brennan: That’s pretty easy for me; I’m a pretty upbeat kid as it is. I’m pretty happy-go-lucky. This injury has kind of put me at ease, because I finally know what was bothering me. The football part has always been the easiest part, so if I can just get to a team, practice and showcase my stuff at 100-percent, that’s all I can ask for. I know once I get that chance I’m going to take full advantage of it. I just stay positive, and I’m grateful for what I have, and I really think the future is bright for me. I just have to get through the tough times right now.

CS: The adversity keeps rolling your way, because once the story hit the wire that you were set to have surgery on your hip, everyone who had you as a mid-round prospect now says you will be a late round prospect or even a free agent. What do you think about those sentiments?

Brennan: If you look at what I did at the Combine; completing all of those passes, playing at the Senior Bowl all week and performing great at my Pro Day, all with a partially torn labrum, I think I’ve shown something. The one thing I did at the Pro Day was a lot of movement. I did cone drills and threw on the run just to show everyone that this injury isn’t serious. There is nothing serious about it. The one thing that makes it serious is the timing. All I need is a team to understand that, and I think teams are smart enough to understand that it isn’t serious. They have doctors who understand that and they can look at it and say that this kid will be 100-percent the first week in July. Teams don’t really need me until the last week in July; yeah, I’ll miss two mini-camps, big deal, I’ll be there watching. I know the media takes a negative perspective on it, the teams see it for what it is, and I think I’ll still be drafted pretty high come draft day.

During a photo shoot prior to his senior season, Brennan poses near the water.
Lucy Pemoni/Getty Images

CS: The obvious question I have to ask you is now that you’ve endured all of these injuries and everyone is questioning your draft status, do you regret not declaring for the draft after your junior season?

Brennan: The truth is if I came out after my junior year, I would have been drafted in the first or second round. The way I look at it, I was glad I went back to Hawaii, because what I experienced last year was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I really believe that going through all of this adversity is going to make me stronger and a better football player. I’ve learned a lot from the situation I went through at the University of Colorado and I’ll keep pushing through all of this adversity and get on the other side of it. Who knows, if I left after my junior year and got drafted in the first round, maybe three or four years down the line I wouldn’t even be playing football. Where as maybe this year I’ll get drafted by the right team, and even though it will be in the later rounds, I’ll end up having a great career. That’s all that really matters. I’m just putting my faith in God and just taking it in stride.

CS: What are your expectations at this point, in regards to your draft status?

Brennan: I still believe I’m one of the best quarterbacks in this draft and that I should be taken high in the draft. If that happens, I don’t know. But I still have some adversity to overcome. I feel like I’ve answered all of the questions that they wanted to know about me. They wanted to know if I could gain weight and get bigger; I did that. They wanted to know if I could play under center; I did that. At the Combine and on Tuesday at the Pro Day, all the drills I went through and the arm strength I displayed were all positive, and I think I answered those questions. For me it’s tough. Other guys may have had great careers or even so-so careers, and they get the benefit of the doubt. I’ve broken every record, won big games and everyone is still looking at me and judging me; trying to find something wrong with me physically or in my game. It seems like everyone looks at me negatively first, and that’s all right. I just try to turn those negatives into a positive. All I need is one team to believe in me on draft day.

CS: Emotionally, how hard will it be for you after the surgery to just sit back and wonder what’s going to happen?

Brennan: It’s just part of the process, you know. Four or five years ago when I was a freshman at Colorado, being drafted in the NFL didn’t seem realistic to me because of the problems I had there. After my junior year at Hawaii when I threw 58 touchdowns, if I declared for the draft I was probably going to be a first round pick. It’s just an honor to be a part of the draft process and to possibly have a job in the NFL; that’s all that matters to me right now. I’m not worried about the draft and the money and all of that stuff. If people are worried about that, I don’t know how much success they will have in the NFL. I’m not too concerned about where I go in the draft, because for all of those teams that pass me up, I’m going to remember it and play with a chip on my shoulder when I get in the league.

CS: Now that the Pro Day and everything else is behind you, except for the surgery, do you think any team will bring you in for a pre-draft meeting?

Brennan: Not with the surgery coming up, no. I think all the teams know that I will be off getting my hip taken care of. Luckily, I had the Senior Bowl and the Combine to meet with teams. I sat down with almost every team, and I feel like they know everything about me. With the surgery and everything, I don’t think I will have the opportunity to fly out anywhere.

CS: With your surgery less than a week away and draft day a few weeks away, have your draft day plans changed?

Brennan: Well, yeah, I was planning on going to Colorado and doing a little fly fishing and relaxing there, but now I’ll be home [California] relaxing, rehabbing and just waiting for that phone call. Once I get that phone call, I’ll be ready to fly out. I’ll be at the place I get drafted all summer and just be ready for camp.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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