Imagine yourself wanting to be an NFL football player. Not so hard. Imagine having that opportunity after college but you don’t get drafted. Still, had a chance. Then you get signed as an undrafted free agent. The invitation to camp means a lot of hard work is ahead with no guarantees of making the squad. Cuts come soon enough and your name is on that list. The phone rings a day or two later and your back on a team serving on their practice squad.
Life could be worse.
For many practice squad players the opportunity to get into the lineup on a Sunday is a vision never realized. For every one player that makes it to the 53, three others never get a chance. It’s life in the NFL. But what if, just what if your a practice squad player with little chance of making it to the show and your time comes. Imagine how thrilling that would be. You call your mom, your dad, and everyone else you know to say “Hey, I get to dress on Sunday!”.
For Sam Brenner his call was more than just a “you’re dressing” conversation. Brenner got the call on Friday that Mike Pouncey could like miss the game. He was not told that he would be suiting up but instead that he may very well have to start at LG next to the big man Bryant McKinnie. Now imagine that phone call to friends and family? A short day and a half notice, Brenner goes from planning his party to watch the game to dressing for his first NFL action of his life.
And he performed almost flawlessly.
Brenner gave up a sack, a hurry, and hit on Tannehill but he also kept the San Diego pass rush off Tannehill for most of the game and provided valuable blocks in the Dolphins running game. He wasn’t flagged at all. Sure it was a poor San Diego defense he faced but it’s still the NFL and Brennan’s play may have earned him a permanent stay on the 53 man roster. Injuries are normally the catalyst for practice squad players but even injuries don’t always mean a call up.
In this NFL it’s often easier and smarter to buy the cheap veteran off the street free agent list. The Dolphins had no choice but to bring up Brenner. It was too late in the week to go to the temp pool. They needed someone to step up from within. Brenner did what needed to be done.
With all the turmoil surrounding Miami and another round of idiots paying for aerial flyovers demanding the head of the GM, it’s nice to see that one player could see a dream realized in front of him. That hard work and faith would pay off even if only short term. Regardless of what happens to Brenner going forward he can say he suited up and at least for one weekend was a starting guard in the National Football League. Good for you kid!