From the Sports editor: Ex-Hen Nagy is living NFL dream

Matt Nagy

Matt Nagy didn’t let go of his NFL quarterback dreams without a fight.

The last time I talked to the former Delaware quarterback was in 2007 and he was getting ready to play in the Arena Bowl with the Columbus Destroyers.

Nagy had put up good numbers in his six-season AFL career. But he was also 29 with a family.

Still, Nagy wasn’t giving up on getting a shot in the NFL.

“Coming out of college (in 2001), I was really going after it,” Nagy said at the time. “I see the quarterbacks that are in the NFL right now and the guys that are getting looks and sometimes I wonder, ‘What am I doing wrong? Why haven’t I even had a chance to get into a camp?’

“It’s frustrating. There’s a lot of guys in the Arena League that are in similar shoes. I’ll have times when I’m really hungry and I want to get into that (NFL) camp. Then there’s other times when I just sit back and say, ‘If it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be.’

“I’m 29 years old now,” he added. “When you start getting into your low 30s you can forget about it. My window is slipping. Hopefully teams out there can see that I try to do my best as far as trying to be the best quarterback I can be. I’m looking for an opportunity.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Nagy’s dream never panned out. At 29, it was just too much of a longshot.

But what happened instead to Nagy is far more incredible.

Today, the 40-year-old is the head coach of the 12-4 Chicago Bears, who host the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles in the first round of the NFC playoffs. In the Bears’ long, storied history, only legendary George Hallas won as many as 10 games in his rookie coaching season with Chicago.

And Hallas did it in 1920.

Consider that, just 10 years ago, Nagy was still only a lowly coaching intern with the Eagles. Along with playing in the Arena League, he’d spent most of the time between 2001-09 coaching high school football in Pennsylvania and working in real estate in Lancaster, Pa.

Yet here he is, an NFL head coach — and apparently a pretty good one at that. A lot of people think he should be a shoo-in for the NFL Coach of the Year award.

Sometimes, dreams really do come true.

When he was first introduced as the Bears’ coach last January, Nagy thanked the Eagles for letting him get his foot in the NFL door.

“They gave a 29-year-old, washed-up Arena League player a chance to be a part of the National Football League,” he said at the time. “That was always my goal. I didn’t do it as a player, but I’m doing it as a coach.

“I’m living the dream,” Nagy added. “The dream came true.”

Callahan signs with Bucs

Joe Callahan is back in the NFL.

The former Wesley College standout quarterback signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week.

Callahan reportedly signed a reserve/futures contract, which gives him a spot on the Bucs’ 90-man preseason camp roster.

Tampa Bay will be Callahan’s fifth NFL stop, joining the Packers, Saints, Browns and Eagles on the QB’s resume. Callahan last played with the Eagles this past preseason, seeing action in all three contests with one start.

The 2015 Gagliardi Trophy winner completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 262 yards with Philadelphia.

Odds & ends

• A memorial service for former Laurel High standout football player Ron Waller will be held on Jan. 12 at the Laurel Fire House. Visitation will be from 1-3 p.m., followed by a Celebration of Life led by Jimmy Hoppa.

• Nagy isn’t the Bears’ only Delaware connection, of course. Former Blue Hen defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (Hodgson) is making a name for himself as a rookie for Chicago.

Nagy also hired ex-Delaware assistant coach Brian Ginn to his staff. The two shared and competed for the starting QB job for much of their Blue Hen careers.

• Dover’s Madison Brengle starts the year ranked 88th in the world. The 28-year-old is 5-6 all-time in the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 14.

In 2015, Brengle reached the round of 16 at the Aussie, the farthest she’s advanced in a Grand Slam event.

• Former Caesar Rodney High girls’ basketball standout Kylie Kornegay-Lucas signed with the University of Virgina after originally verbally committing to East Carolina. Kornegay-Lucas now plays for New Hope Academy in Maryland.

• Dover International Speedway is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The first race on the Monster Mile was on July 6, 1969.

Construction on the property, which was previously a farm and small airstrip, began in August, 1967.

• Before Christmas, Dover honored Sharon Garron, a longtime ticketing official who retired at the end of the year after 38 years with Dover Motorsports, Inc.

“We have a great team and I feel fortunate to have known and worked with them,” Garron said. “It has been a great run. It has been exciting to be a part of NASCAR and the growth of the track.”

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