From the Sports Editor: Callahan living the dream as Packers hopeful

Former Wesley QB Joe Callahan is battling for a spot on the Packers’ roster. (Photo courtesy of Packers.com.)

Former Wesley QB Joe Callahan is battling for a spot on the Packers’ roster. (Photo courtesy of Packers.com.)

The neat thing about being a Packer, says Joe Callahan, is the fans.

“We get to the facility every day probably around 5 to 5:30 in the morning,” said the former Wesley College quarterback. “And there’s fans outside the gate when we get there.

“And the fans are there all day until we leave at 5:30 in the afternoon. That’s pretty cool. They know your name, they have pictures of you playing in college, some have made rookie cards already and they’re asking for signatures. It’s just a small town that’s all about the Packers.”

For a kid who grew up a Brett Favre fan, being a Green Bay QB for the last couple months really is living the dream for Callahan.

Of course, also being a former Division III quarterback, Callahan knows that being on any NFL roster right now is a dream come true.

For the moment, Callahan is living somewhere between a really great Cinderalla story and the cold, hard realities of the NFL.

Last year’s Gagliardi Trophy winner as the top player in Division III, he’s already beaten the odds just getting signed as a free agent and then sticking around through the offseason practice sessions.

But Callahan won’t really have accomplished his goal until the regular season starts in September and he’s still on the roster. With preseason NFL camps opening at the end of the month, that finish line is still light years away.

On the other hand, there’s only four quarterbacks on the Packers’ roster and he’s one of them.

“When it all starts, you’re trying to go one hundred miles per hour, learn as much as you can, as fast as you can,” said Callahan. “And it’s a lot being thrown as you all at once. I feel like I’ve grown a lot, I’ve improved and I’ve taken big steps within the playbook.

“You try not to sit there and think about those things too much,” he said about his chances of making the roster. “But it’s a competition every day. Every rep counts. You just have to execute.”

At this level, still being with the team is really the only major feedback that a rookie free agent like Callahan gets.

Since Callahan has been with Green Bay, the Packers have already released one big-school quarterback (Miami’s Ryan Williams) and signed another (North Carolina’s Marquise Williams).

There’s plenty of film critiques, of course. As to exactly where Callahan fits in with Green Bay’s plans, though, is anybody’s guess.

All roster realities aside, being at the same position as an NFL star like the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers isn’t a bad place to be for a rookie quarterback.

“It’s great,” said Callahan. “You’re sitting in the same meeting room and doing the same drills and practicing with debatably the best quarterback in the NFL right now. He’s the three-time MVP, a Super Bowl MVP. It’s a little bit different than the Wesley meeting room.

“It’s been a great experience. He’s a good guy. I just try to sit there and learn as much from him as I can.”

However this all turns out, Callahan will definitely remember this experience for the rest of his life.

At least around the Packers’ locker room, he hopes he’s already proven himself to anyone who doubted him as a small-college player.

How far he can ride this remains to be seen.

“I try to make sure I enjoy every minute of it because you never know when it’s going to end,” said Callahan. “It could be getting cut, it could be an injury, it could be leaving on your own terms.

“I’ve always been confident in what I can do,” he said. “But I felt like, over the past month, I’ve proved to some other people that I belong there. I don’t feel like it’s moving so fast or anything. I feel like I belong there.”

Receiver leaves Hens

Tre Brown, a once-promising receiver for the Delaware football team, has left the Blue Hens.

After redshirting as a true freshman, he played in only six games last fall before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He was still coming back from that injury, leaving his playing status for the start of this season uncertain.

Coach Dave Brock said it was Brown’s decision to leave. Brown had nine catches for 68 yards with a touchdown before being injured last fall.

With quality depth at receiver still a major question for the Hens, Delaware would like to add a transfer wideout before the season. Andrew Verboys, a former walk-on QB/receiver at UMass, is already on the Hens’ roster.

Odds & ends

•The Capital School Board is expected to vote on Dover High’s new girls’ basketball coach at its monthly meeting on Tuesday.

•Former Dover High football player Trip Thurman is actually not the only player from Delaware on the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster.

Dickinson High grad Antwane Grant, who played at Western Kentucky, is trying to make the Bengals as a rookie.

Steve Bastianelli, probably best known as the successful wrestling coach at St. Mark’s High, has been hired as the athletic director at Sussex Academy.

A member of the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame, Bastianelli has been the AD at both Sussex Central and Newark High. His family is well known in Sussex County, of course, with his father, Herm, being the former legendary wrestling coach at Georgetown and Sussex Central.

•Delaware basketball player Maurice Jeffers has made the somewhat surprising move of transferring to Boston College. The 6-foot-9 senior forward had a good sophomore season only to struggle much of last winter, averaging just 5.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game.

Jeffers reportedly also considered Georgia and South Carolina, where another former Blue Hen, Kory Holden, also landed.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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