While working 12-hour days at The Tradition GC at Chapel Ridge in Pittsboro, N.C., he kept pursuing his dream and has now landed a spot on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad. Locker-room ribbing and blitzing linebackers, he says, have nothing on “the crankiness of old men going to play golf who want things done right.”
Third-string quarterback Bryn Renner has been named to the practice squad of the Baltimore Ravens National Football League team, baltimoreravens.com reported, after spending time away from football “dealing with surly old men who were quite particular about the way their golf clubs were put on the cart.”
A former quarterback for the University of North Carolina (UNC), Renner started working as a “regular-Joe employee” at The Tradition Golf Club at Chapel Ridge in Pittsboro, N.C., after getting released in August 2014 by the Denver Broncos.
At The Tradition, Renner told BaltimoreRavens.com, his job involved “getting the carts ready to go in the morning, fixing them when they inevitably broke down, and cleaning them after each round.”
He worked 12-hour days at The Tradition, Renner said, with “his headphones popped in and his hat pulled down,” so people couldn’t recognize the 6-foot-3, 228-lb. college quarterback they likely rooted for while he was starring at UNC in Chapel Hill, 20 miles up the road.
“I’m not a guy that likes to sit around much,” Renner told BaltimoreRavens.com, in explaining why he took the job at The Tradition within a week after being cut by Denver. “I worked 12-hour days just trying to occupy my mind. I just wanted to get away from football and wrap myself around something to do.”
At The Tradition, BaltimoreRavens.com reported, Renner reported to work at 5:30 a.m. each day to get about 125 carts ready for action, screwing name plates onto each one. They were gas-powered, so he also had to learn some mechanical skills. And he quickly developed a “customer-service smile” that helped him hustle for $2 tips.
While few environments rival professional sports for chops-busting, Renner told BaltimoreRavens.com that locker-room ribbing, not to mention blitzing linebackers, have nothing on “the crankiness of golfers more than twice his age.”
“They let me hear it,” he said with a laugh. “Every old man going to play golf wants things done right. Putting clubs on [the carts] was nerve-wracking in itself.”
Renner’s journey from big-time college quarterback to NFL reject to golf course employee and now to the Ravens’ 10-man practice squad has been part of “a crazy two years,” he told BaltimoreRavens.com. “I never thought this opportunity [to return to the NFL] would come,” he said
A product of West Springfield High School in Northern Virginia, Renner had highly successful sophomore and junior seasons as the UNC Tar Heels’ starter in 2011 and 2012, and could have been a mid-round draft pick, BaltimoreRavens.com reported, until he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the fifth game of his senior year.
Despite still receiving an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine, Renner went undrafted in 2014 and was signed by the Broncos. The Broncos, however, never really gave him a chance, BaltimoreRavens.com reported. Renner told the website that he didn’t get a single rep in practice while there – not even in 7-on-7 drills. With Peyton Manning and young backup Brock Osweiler, a 2012 second-round pick, Renner was an afterthought, so it was no surprise that he didn’t see any preseason action and didn’t even make it to the big first round of cuts from 90 to 75 players.
Frustrated and knowing it would be highly unlikely for a team to pick up a quarterback at that stage of training camp, Renner immediately started looking for work. He likes golf and had built relationships at The Tradition while in college, so he figured “Why not?” seek work there while contemplating his next move, BaltimoreRavens.com reported.
Eventually, the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League called and asked if Renner would like to play for them in February if he wasn’t picked up by the NFL before then. Renner agreed he would go
But not too long after that, in early November, Renner got a call from the Ravens. It was during Baltimore’s bye week in the 2014 season, and the team needed a quarterback to throw to some tight ends they were trying out to sign to their practice squad.
The Ravens called Renner because they thought he lived nearby in Virginia, BaltimoreRavens.com reported. When he told them he was actually in North Carolina, they looked for other options, but couldn’t find any. So they flew Renner to Baltimore for the workout, after which the Ravens’ Offensive Coordinator, Gary Kubiak, told Renner he did a great job.
But that was as far as things went at that time, BaltimoreRavens.com reported. Renner later got a workout with the New York Jets during the last week of the season, but again wasn’t signed. Then, on January 12, 2015, the Ravens called back—Renner had made enough of an impression that the team wanted to sign him to a future-reserves contract.
Given another shot, Renner went on to make the most of it. His first-ever NFL game action finally came in the Ravens’ preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints this August at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, and he couldn’t have scripted a better story.
After throwing an interception that allowed New Orleans to take a late fourth-quarter lead, Renner had to drive the Ravens 80 yards for a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining. On fourth down, Renner rolled right and dove into the end zone for the game-winning score with two seconds left. He celebrated like he had just won the Super Bowl.
Renner then had a preseason game where he played most of the game and completed 18 of 24 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, and nearly led another come-from-behind win, to secure his practice-roster spot.
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