In the first step of Colt Brennan’s comeback, the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League have secured the rights to the former University of Hawaii quarterback.
Hartford’s head coach is Jerry Glanville, who was UH’s defensive coordinator during Brennan’s sophomore and juniors seasons in 2005 and 2006.
"I’m excited coach Glanville reached out and protected my (UFL) rights," Brennan said. "I’m stoked about that. I would love the opportunity, if it happens, to play for coach Glanville."
Brennan said he has not signed nor reached an agreement with the Colonials.
An offer from a National Football League team before July 11 — the first day of UFL training camps — would supersede the Colonials’ rights. The NFL, currently in a lockout, cannot make free-agent offers until after a labor agreement has been reached.
With a UFL gag order in place, Glanville said, "I can neither confirm nor deny" the Colonials secured the rights to Brennan. "The time will come when I can do one or the other."
Glanville added: "If we were picking today, I would pick him No. 1. But we’re not picking today. We picked (three) days ago."
The UFL conducted what it termed an "allotment" procedure of free agents who completed their college eligibility no later than the 2009 season. Each of the five UFL teams listed 10 players.
Hartford and Omaha each listed Brennan. The UFL then called Brennan to break the tie.
"I had to choose between which team," Brennan said. "Because of coach Glanville and our relationship, obviously I wanted to rekindle the magic we had in Hawaii. I’m glad he protected my rights."
The UFL began play in October 2009. The league currently has five franchises playing in markets where there is no NFL presence.
Brennan, who will turn 28 in August, had the best statistical season by an NCAA quarterback in 2006, when he earned a pass-efficiency rating of 182.8. He threw an NCAA record 58 touchdown passes that season.
"There’s one word to describe Colt: Accuracy," Glanville said. "It’s all about being accurate, and he’s very accurate."
The Washington Redskins drafted Brennan in the sixth round in 2008. But after four surgeries — on each hip and each knee — he was released last spring. He signed with the Oakland Raiders, but was cut the week before the 2010 season opener.
Agent Ryan Tollner said there were several discussions with NFL teams, with the possibility of being signed to a practice squad near the end of the 2010 season, before Brennan suffered several injuries in a two-car crash on the Big Island in November.
"It was quite a setback," Tollner said.
Brennan has healed, and is back in "football shape." But with the lockout, and no chance to work out for NFL teams, "obviously my options are pretty limited."
Calgary owns the Canadian Football League’s negotiation rights to Brennan. But given the CFL’s different rules and wider fields, plus the standard two-year commitment, Brennan felt the UFL would be a better option. The eight-game, three-month season ends in November, enough time to receive a shot with an NFL team.
"The UFL is less of an adjustment," Tollner said. "The games are on television. The big thing is the chance for him to get on the field and show that he’s an elite player."
Brennan said: "I’m starting over right now. I’m glad I have options. My main goal is to get ready for the football season coming up. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, possibly, of playing for coach Glanville. I like him because he’s a good old-fashioned genuine football coach. I went up against his defenses every day in practice. It was fun competition. It was a battle every day. I love coach Glanville. He’s a great guy."