Since that time, the Packers have searched for a trustworthy quarterback to backup the future Hall of Fame quarterback from Southern Mississippi. But with the veteran Favre repeatedly hinting at retirement during the past few off-seasons, the Packers are now in search of a future replacement to over things once his reign is over.
Rhein Fire quarterback Scott McBrien may be just the Packers’ man. The 24-year-old quarterback possesses all the intangibles one looks for in a rising quarterback – accuracy, speed, intelligence of the game, and good awareness of his surroundings. McBrien is the third current Green Bay quarterback to compete in NFL Europe in as many years. He is following in the footsteps of Packer quarterbacks Doug Pederson, Craig Nall, and J.T. O’Sullivan, all of whom are currently with the Packers organization. Pederson endured two stints in NFL Europe, including the 1995 season with the Rhein Fire, while Craig Nall led the NFL Europe in passing efficiency and touchdowns during his tenure with Scottish Claymores in 2003. The newest quarterback addition to the Green Bay roster, J.T. O’Sullivan, joined the Packers via trade from New Orleans in October after leading the Frankfurt Galaxy to the World Bowl in 2004. McBrien received some advice from his Packer counterparts before making the journey overseas to compete.
“Craig Nall and J.T. O’Sullivan are great quarterbacks that have been through this experience. They had told me about it and advised me to do it, as it is a great experience. I haven’t talked to them since I have been over here but I talked to them some while I was in training camp. Craig Nall was just telling me to enjoy it and to get better day in and day out and that things will work themselves out. I am just glad to be over here and playing football again.”
McBrien signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Maryland on April 30, 2004. Playing for the Packers during the 2004 preseason provided him with the opportunity to play alongside Brett Favre, one of his boyhood idols. Favre served as a mentor to McBrien, a young southpaw quarterback from Silver Springs, Maryland, in many ways during the team’s training camp.
“Brett is a great guy on and off the field,” McBrien said. “He is down to earth and is just a great person to be around. I have learned so much from him and to just have him out there on the field every day is an experience in itself. Brett really kind of took me under his wings. He is the guy I have looked up to all my life. I was glad to hear that he was coming back for another year. He is a great guy to be around and someone that I can learn a lot from.”
After his release from the Packers in September of 2004, McBrien returned to Maryland where he continued to work out in preparation for another shot at the NFL. A second opportunity arose in January when the Packers re-signed and allocated him to the Rhein Fire for the 2005 NFLE season. McBrien is excited about polishing his skills overseas.
McBrien joins the Fire organization where he is under the guidance of a fellow former University of Maryland star quarterback, Fire offensive coordinator Scott Milanovich. Milanovich played at Maryland during the 1992-95 seasons and finished his career as the school’s record holder for yards thrown in a game (498 vs. Virginia Tech in 1993), season (3,499 in 1993), and a career (7,301 in 1992-95). Milanovich was a quarterback at Maryland that Scott grew up watching as a youngster. Being raised a Terrapin fan, McBrien transferred to Maryland for his final two seasons after starting at the University of West Virginia. McBrien totaled 2,672 yards and 19 touchdowns in addition to Gator Bowl MVP’s during his two-year tenure as a Terrapin.
While the two Terrapin alums share a common bond, they haven’t had a chance to spend much time talking about their alma mater.
“Things have been going so quick that we really don’t have time to discuss Maryland football. But once in awhile we will say some things here and there. We were disappointed that the Terrapins didn’t get into the college basketball tournament, but once in awhile we say a few things. I am sure as the season goes on we will be able to talk about it more, but it is just great to have him as my quarterback coach.”
The one knock some in the NFL may have on McBrien is his size. Measuring 6-foot-0, 190 pounds, McBrien isn’t one of the biggest players on the Fire roster. However, he feels that many people may perceive his size as being disadvantageous; it in turn creates some advantages for him.
“Being a little shorter enables me to move around in the pocket more and be a little bit of a run threat. Drew Brees and Doug Flutie are among a number of great quarterbacks that played in the NFL and have really been successful despite not being too big. Joe Theisman and Joe Montana also weren’t that big, and to have quarterbacks of their size be Hall of Famers enables me to think that I can do it as well.”
Off the field, Scott is an avid golfer who loves to swing the golf clubs out on the links whenever given the chance. Hitting some balls on the course allows him the opportunity to take his thoughts off football and relax his mind. McBrien feels that if he didn’t pursue football, he might have chosen golf as a career after having played the sport in high school.
But the game of football shouldn’t be too taxing on McBrien as of now, for he has an aggressive corps of Fire receivers who make things easier on him. “Every time you have a receiver that will go up and get the ball like our receivers do, that makes the quarterback’s job so much easier. All of our receivers have been doing a great job of finding the open window and making plays on the ball. Anytime that you can throw it up and have confidence that they will go up and get the ball it is a good feeling for the quarterback.”
McBrien looks to be comfortable with the Fire offense as well his surroundings and should be set for a great season. Regardless of how the season turns out, his experience overseas will never be forgotten.
“I have never been out of the country and most of my family hadn’t either. I have heard nothing but good things about Germany. It doesn’t get much better than experiencing the sights and sounds of Germany while playing football at the same time. I am just looking forward to being over here and enjoying every minute of it.”