- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 5, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Colt McCoy has gone Hollywood.

He played a big role in the development of a new movie, “My All-American,” set to hit theaters later this month. It’s a legendary Texas football story that hits home for McCoy, the former University of Texas quarterback.

It’s about the life of Freddie Steinmark, the beloved former Longhorns defensive back who was part of a national championship team in 1969 then tragically passed away two years later to bone cancer.

“I’m not in the movie,” McCoy said. “I was involved heavily in the football stuff, getting the talent there for the football shots and making sure the scenes were real. I think the football scenes are probably the best of any sports movie you’ll see.

“We wanted to make sure that everything was accurate and true, and this is the true story about Freddie Steinmark,” he said. “It is a movie that everyone will enjoy seeing, families, people of all ages. It’s an inspirational movie, a story about courage.”

But what about the story of McCoy? Where are we with that story — the story of the heralded Texas quarterback who was injured in the national championship game against Alabama in 2010, and, after being drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns that year, has struggled to become a starting quarterback in the NFL, now on his third team, the Washington Redskins?

Where are we with McCoy’s story?

“My story is OK,” he said. “Not a whole lot of people ask me that now. As the backup, you are just waiting in the wings. Not a whole lot of glory there. I am doing the absolute best that I can to be a great teammate, to give our defense a great look every week, and ultimately stay prepared in case something happens.”

Something happened in the McCoy story that stunned him on Aug. 31 at Redskins Park. That day, coach Jay Gruden declared, “We have announced that Kirk Cousins will be the starter for 2015 moving forward.”

Was McCoy aware that the Redskins starting quarterback job — which Gruden said was Robert Griffin III’s since January — was even open for competition?
“I’ll just say that I didn’t know. … That’s a hard question to answer without just being straight forward and blunt,” McCoy said. “Did I know that it was a competition like that? No. No.”

It came as a surprise to McCoy when Gruden explained that he “didn’t want to come to every press conference and get asked who’s starting,” as he said at a press conference several days after a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. “We put it to bed. We named Robert the starter, gave him the first reps with the guys. But, when you do that, you still have to compete. There’s still competition.”

McCoy was disappointed. If there was competition for the starting job, he felt he had made his case.

“We’re all competitors,” he said. “I didn’t even know that it was going to happen, how it was all going to work. I felt like I had played well in the preseason. I felt like I had grown a lot since playing last year. Unfortunately, I got hurt last year, but I knew I wanted to be back here this year. I felt comfortable in the system. I felt comfortable with the guys in the locker room. I proved that I could win last year.”

McCoy, 29, led the Redskins to perhaps their biggest victory since 2012 when he started on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys last season and led them to a 20-17 upset win at JerryWorld. He completed 25 of 30 passes for 299 yards and ran for one touchdown.

Griffin returned from injury to start the following week against the Minnesota Vikings, but he was benched after his terrible performance in the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McCoy got the start against the Indianapolis Colts, when he completed 31 of 47 passes for 392 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

McCoy struggled in the game against the St. Louis Rams the following week, completing 20 of 32 passes for 199 yards and two interceptions, and then left the game against the New York Giants the following week because of a pinched nerve, an injury that ended his season.

Griffin took over, because Cousins was benched in the middle of the game against the Tennessee Titans last season following a series of self-destructive, interception-filled performances. McCoy entered in the second half with Washington down, 10-6, and completed 11 of 12 passes and one touchdown, leading the Redskins to a 19-17 comeback win. He was the only Redskins quarterback last season not benched because of performance.

This preseason, with the opportunities McCoy had, he completed 41 of 57 passes for 416 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions ­— yet he lost a job he didn’t know was up for grabs.

“This situation is particularly challenging here because we got three guys in our locker room who have all played before, and I think that is pretty unique in our league,” he said. “I don’t think that my career by any means is over. I don’t ever let my mind think that way. But, I will admit sometimes, it is hard being the backup. You’re always on edge, and you’re always expected to come in and win the game when your number is called without any reps or preparation except what you’ve done mentally to get ready for the game. I embrace it because that is the role I am in, which is to stay prepared each week, but it definitely can be challenging.”

He has been nothing but a good teammate, though, and has high hopes for the Redskins moving forward.

“I feel like we are a much better team this year,” McCoy said. “We’re only a half game behind coming off the bye week. We’ve got some guys coming back healthy like DeSean [Jackson] and [Chris] Culliver. I feel like we got a lot of things going for us.”

It’s not a Hollywood story — at least not yet. But McCoy is very excited about being part of “My All-American” and Steinmark’s story.

“When I was at UT, there was a plaque of Freddie and his story in the tunnel walking out to Darrell Royal Memorial Stadium,” he said. “You touch that every time you go out to the field or back into the locker room, so anybody who has played football at UT knows the story of Freddie.”

Now others will know, and McCoy will help tell it, while his own story is still in development.

• Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m.daily on ESPN 980 and espn980.com.


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