A friend recently suggested a ‘Where Are They Now?’ post on Redskins preseason Hall of Famers, which is how, on my Tuesday bus ride home, my mind wandered to what the heck happened to Colt Brennan. I turned to Twitter, and lo and behold, the former Redskins quarterback and fellow In-N-Out Burger lover was scheduled to appear in a TV series debuting that night. What were the odds?
— David (@davidmclennan91) August 11, 2014
I hadn’t heard of “4th and Loud,” AMC’s docu-series about the Paul Stanley- and Gene Simmons-owned LA Kiss’ inaugural season in the Arena Football League, but I DVR’d Tuesday’s premiere and watched it after the Nationals game. (You can watch the full episode here. There are, um, spoilers below.)
Sure enough, Brennan, the Redskins’ sixth-round pick in 2008 after a record-setting career at Hawaii, is a focal point of the one-hour episode. LA KISS head coach Bob McMillen and director of player development Scott Bailey were thrilled at the prospect of Brennan leading their offense, and fully expected him to win the QB competition against AFL veteran J.J. Raterink.
“Obviously, Colt Brennan, huge career,” Bailey said while going over the list of players in training camp with McMillen in January. ” … He has the ability to be [expletive] dynamic in this league.”
“When I left college, I was the most accurate and most efficient quarterback to ever play the game,” Brennan said. “I just blew it up.”
Brennan became a fan — and Bog — favorite during his first training camp and preseason with the Redskins, which included completing 9 of 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns in his preseason debut. Brennan underwent hip surgery before the 2009 season and was cut by the Redskins in August 2010 after the team signed John Beck. He signed as a free agent with the Raiders, but was released before the season, and was involved in a near-fatal car accident in Hawaii in November 2010.
“All I know is I woke up, six, seven days later,” Brennan said of the accident on ‘4th and Loud’. “I badly broke my collarbone, and on the X-rays it was just like crack, crack, crack, crack, crack, crack all the way down my left side. I woke up and I was — and I still am — a different person. I suffered minor TBI — traumatic brain injury. I just have a small scar, you know, on my brain, but it’s in an area that makes you impulsive and emotional. I’ve had to learn how to control that.”
There was no mention of Brennan’s arrest for DUI and drug charges in 2012, one month after he was cut by the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Brennan pleaded guilty to DUI in 2013 and prosecutors dropped the drug charges.
Midway through the episode, we learn that while Brennan has been physically cleared to practice, there are some concerns about his neurological tests. KISS co-owner Brett Bouchy chews out McMillen and assistant coach Walter Housman during one scene after learning that they allowed Brennan to participate in non-contact drills.
“It’s devastating for us because he’s the golden boy waiting to take the field,” Stanley said.
At the end of the episode, Bouchy and McMillen break the difficult news to Brennan that the neurologists did not clear him to play, and that his football career is likely over.
“Football doesn’t define who you are,” Brennan said. “I’ve got everything in the world I’d ever want. I know I’m happy, I’ve just got to figure out how to bounce back from this brain injury. … My grandfather gave me a book about Vince Lombardi quotes. This thing just stood out so much, and it was, it’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up. That quote resonated with me so much and I’ve watched it basically become my life. So, I’m just trying to get back up again.”