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An Island of Confidence

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The Washington Post's Jason Reid talks about the development of rookie wide receiver Malcolm Kelly. Video by Jason Reid/The Washington PostPhotos: John McDonnell & Preston Keres/The Washington Post, AP, Getty Editor: Jonathan Forsythe/washingtonpost.com

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Weight and hip issues also were a concern. Brennan weighed 185 pounds during Senior Bowl workouts in January, approximately 40 pounds lighter than the prototypical size for the position. In April, Brennan underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, and some predicted he would not be selected in the draft.

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"This is something I've experienced my whole life," he said of the criticism. "I've had to fight things since junior high into high school and well into college. Now, I'm at the next level, and it has never held me back from succeeding. You have to turn it into good motivation."

Coach Jim Zorn has given him the chance. The Redskins took Brennan in the sixth round, 186th overall. In Brennan, Zorn saw a bold personality with the potential to push for the No. 3 spot behind Jason Campbell and Todd Collins.

Zorn knew Brennan's hip surgery would mean an additional obstacle on a steep learning curve; because of a sedentary lifestyle during his recovery, Brennan had to drop 12 of his 224 pounds before training camp to avoid a fine. For Zorn, Brennan's confidence made the investment a gamble worth taking, and on July 14, Brennan signed a four-year, $1.8 million contract.

"Those are things that you can't coach into a guy, and he's got that a little bit about himself," Zorn said. "He's getting himself ready to play, not just run plays. It's a good attitude to have."

His attitude has given teammates pause. Brennan quickly has gained a reputation as an antithesis to the stiff, all-business field-general prototype. He wears tights on the practice field. He cracks jokes with veterans. He plays the ukulele.

"He's probably one of the most interesting rookie quarterbacks I've ever been around," Campbell said.

"He just walks around and talks about everything. . . . He has these different styles that he dresses when he comes to practice. He has tights on. He has wristbands. I'm like, 'Colt, what's all this stuff you have on?' "

Said wide receiver Horace Gant: "He's cool, calm and collected. I think the Hawaii lifestyle rubbed off on him. . . . He puts me in the mind of a Brett Favre-type guy. It's not the conventional, drop-back quarterback style. He gets the job done."

Brennan has embraced his new life but is cognizant of his past. At the end of a recent morning practice, fans leaned over a burgundy rail near the practice fields. They held pens, footballs, caps, stadium seats, anything to lure the subject of their attention. Moments later, Brennan walked toward their outstretched arms and flashed a faint smile before signing autographs.

"I want to go to the University of Hawaii!" a boy in the crowd said.

"I don't blame you," Brennan said, scribbling his signature.

"Is it a good school?"

"If you like the beach," Brennan said.

"In football, you set a game plan, and you get out there, and it all goes to shambles sometimes," Brennan said later. "You have to be able to bounce back. You'll throw an interception or you'll get sacked. As a quarterback, you have to be able to fight through the adversity more than anyone."


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