Colt McCoy signed a three year contract with the Redskins last week, which, might not seem like very noteworthy news considering he will be penciled in as the team's backup again this season, and now, at least, potentially for the foreseeable future.
But when you consider the Texas quarterback's career and slowly fade out from the wet ink he used to pen his name, or if you just read his essay in The Player’s Tribune from Tuesday, you'll realize how much stability he's gaining back after a rocky start to his NFL journey.
With the 2016 NFL Combine underway, Redskins.com will look back at past Redskins that attended the event. Here's photos of Colt McCoy.
It's not that McCoy's is a unique case, in fact he mentions how he's one of many young quarterbacks who struggle with the constant tension between patience and production, but that his trajectory changed significantly on one play.
McCoy builds the introduction to his article detailing much about his life growing up in Texas as a quarterback, getting recruited by Mack Brown, making the commitment to head to Austin, learning from and watching Vince Young, finally getting his shot and then deciding to return for his senior year to chase the National Championship.
That season McCoy took his team to The Rose Bowl against Alabama, narrowly fighting off Nebraska and entering as underdogs. Most people, he claimed, didn't believe they should have been on the same field.
"But we knew better," McCoy writes. "This wasn't our first big game or the first tough team we'd ever faced. We'd played the best and we'd beaten the best. Alabama is a fantastic program. That's unquestionable. But you know what? We're Texas. And we play some pretty dang good football too."
Then there was the play that changed it all. The hit to the shoulder at the goal line, which was just a normal hit McCoy reflected, that made his arm go numb and took him out from the game. The nerve endings were affected, and it carried into his job interviews – the NFL Scouting Combine and his Pro Day – which showed scouts a limited scope of his potential.
A look at the highlights of quarterback Colt McCoy's first season with the Washington Redskins, which included wins over the Titans and Cowboys.
"When the draft rolled around, Cleveland ended up taking a chance on me late in the third round," he writes. "They told me I'd get to spend my rookie year rehabbing my shoulder and getting back to normal. But … once again, things didn't quite go according to plan."
It's a persistent theme in McCoy's career, but the article, appropriately titled "Get Back Up," doesn't ask for pity.
McCoy was rushed into the starting job sooner than he expected and struggled – "I can't tell you how many picks I've thrown in this league. But what I am certain of is that at least half of them have to have been to Ed Reed and Troy Polomalu" – but found a mentor in Jake Delhomme, who gave him a helpful introduction to the league.
The most insightful thing McCoy writes is about his personal trajectory that's become a kind of cliché in the league.
"Team drafts a young quarterback, starts him before he's ready and it doesn't work out," he writes. "But I think what gets taken for granted is that we all improve as players the longer we're in this league. Just because a guy has some struggles early on in his career, doesn't mean he's never going to be ready to play at this level. But this isn't a league that lends itself to patience. Production is everything."
With the Redskins, things have clicked for McCoy.
"My choice to sign with the Redskins was the right move then and it's the right move now. I'm entering my third season in the same system and that's something I'll never take for granted in this league again. My first five years in the league, I had to learn five different offenses. Each offense is basically its own foreign language — it really takes time to master. But the opportunity to really familiarize myself with Jay's system has given me a comfort level I haven't experienced since I was in college.
"I'm now more thankful than ever that Jake [Delhomme] showed me how to be a truly great teammate. I learned how to contribute in so many ways, even if it's not on the field every Sunday. Every week during the season, I offer Kirk whatever notes I have on the opposing defense, just like Jake did for me. But I also prepare like I'm going to start, because that's the only thing I know. I treat my work with the scout team like it's a game. It can be a little draining, all that preparation without knowing when you'll get a shot. But it's also comforting knowing with certainty that I can step in a make a difference when the time does come."