Why Colt Brennan Wears a Visor
When fans started commenting about Colt Brennan's visor during the Redskins' third exhibition game last week, I began wondering, for the first time, why he wears the thing. Turns out that was kind of a complicated question.
During his year-plus in the NFL, his visor's biggest news splash came last fall, after Jason Taylor covered it with Vaseline as a prank, rendering it unusable. Other teammates, of course, have noticed the accessory, and some are even openly jealous.
"I think the visor's cool, I kind of want one," said Chris Cooley, who lacks the necessary doctor's note that Brennan has, dating from a poke in the eye he received earlier in his career. "I don't think he's intimidating anyone with that visor," Cooley continued, "but I still think it looks cool."
Brennan also says he has trouble with his vision on bright days, owing to the time he spent on the SoCal water as a kid, but his visor issues run deeper still. For one thing, he was always a huge admirer of Sean Taylor, and thought the safety's various visors, including the rainbow one, were the height of cool.
"He was just a guy that stood out to me in a lot of ways, so I ended up just loving him to death," Brennan said. "All my boys and everybody, we just loved Sean Taylor. And that grew, and then by the time I got to college we were all just trying to rock visors."
Brennan and several teammates at Hawaii wore visors; they also gathered together after a win over Washington to highlight the "ST" decals on their helmets while pointing to the sky. So Taylor is kind of part II of the visor's origins.
The third part is equally weighty. See, Brennan's sister works for a snowboard shop that has some contacts with Oakley, and after his eye got poked early in his Juco year at Saddleback College, she sent him a tinted visor. This was during the height of his much-publicized off-the-field legal issues; opponents were greeting him with slurs and shots below the belt, protesters were targeting the school administration, and his court case was dominating his thoughts.
Brennan tried out the visor for the first time during Saddleback's third game of the season. He discovered that, unexpectedly, it helped him block out the static, that "it's so easy for you to turn away when you know [opponents] can't see your eyes." And he ended the day with four touchdowns, 243 yards and a win, setting him up for a record-breaking season.
"I was just kind of in one of those moments in life where I was completely living in the moment, so I put this visor on and it was like nobody could ever see me," he said. "When they would call me certain names, when they would say things about me, it would just bounce right off that visor and right back at them. All's they would see is themselves when they'd look at me and say stuff to me. It just gave me a chance to kind of sit back and feel protected, when so many people were hitting me late, saying negative things, calling me names, grabbing me in the huddles and stuff like that.
"It gave me like a gap, so they could tell no matter what they were doing, they weren't affecting me. And I just tore it up on it. From that game on, all the way through the Southern California championships, I killed it, every game."
Indeed, he responded with the best passing season in school history, setting single-season marks with 3,395 yards, a 65 percent completion percentage and 30 touchdowns. He earned first-team all-conference honors and eventually parlayed that success into his career at Hawaii and a job with the Redskins, a job he's trying to protect Thursday night. Eye issues aside, that sort of helps explain why he's stuck with the visor.
"Once I put that thing on, it was like a whole different me," he said. "And once I had that success, I never wanted to change it."
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