There is nothing deceptive in the way Colt McCoy presents himself. He’s tall and lean with static blue eyes, and he gives thoughtful answers to the questions he is asked — a straight shooter in the parlance of Tuscola, Texas, where he first became a football star in high school.
But when he says, “I’m in a great place,” it makes you wonder if there’s more than a bit of wishful thinking at work. Amid a long answer regarding his status as the Washington Redskins‘ third quarterback, those five words are said with the slightest change in effect, the slightest increase in pitch. They are said as if McCoy hopes they will become truer than they are.
The truth is, the place in which McCoy finds himself would be the envy of many — just not a college legend entering the fifth year of an increasingly uncertain pro career.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo, a teammate at the University of Texas, good-naturedly referred to the quarterback as “The Great Colt McCoy” when he walked past at the end of a recent workout in Ashburn. That moniker, though, contains plenty of truth, because McCoy:
• is the only four-year starter at quarterback the Longhorns have ever had;
• was runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting as a junior;
• was third in the Heisman voting as a senior and led Texas to the national championship game;
• and finished his career as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history.
Despite that success, McCoy was not considered a top prospect, and his draft stock took an additional hit when he was knocked out on the first series of his final game with a right shoulder injury.
With starter Jake Delhomme and backup Seneca Wallace injured, McCoy made his first start in Week 6. He ended up starting eight games as a rookie, throwing six touchdowns and nine interceptions.
McCoy was named the starter in 2011 and played well enough to keep the job as the season progressed. But in a Week 14 loss to the Steelers, he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from James Harrison and was temporarily knocked out of the game. He returned after a brief examination. McCoy subsequently was diagnosed with a concussion, and the incident made further news when his father questioned the Browns medical staff’s handling of the injury.
McCoy has not started an NFL game since. In the 2012 draft, Cleveland selected Brandon Weeden (since released) in the first round. McCoy appeared in one game in 2012. He was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in April 2013, finishing his Browns career with 21 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
“I have no hard feelings. I know that’s probably a shock for some people to hear that,” McCoy told the Cleveland Plain Dealer upon his exit from the Browns.
The consensus is that McCoy didn’t get a fair shake in Cleveland, but he has consistently declined to say anything negative about his time there.