Packers sign former Wesley quarterback Callahan

Joe Callahan

Joe Callahan

DOVER — Like a lot of other kids, Joe Callahan grew up a fan of former Packers’ quarterback Brett Favre.

But only a precious few of them can say they actually got to be a QB for Green Bay, too.

Callahan added his name to that list on Saturday night when the Packers signed the former Wesley College football star to a free-agent contract.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said from his parents’ home in New Jersey. “I’m so excited to be a Packer right now. I grew up a huge Brett Favre fan so I already had the jersey from being a little kid.

“It’s really a dream come true,” Callahan said again. “As a little kid I always wanted to play quarterback for the Packers and now I’m getting a chance to actually play for them.”

Despite his status as the winner of Division III’s Gagliardi Trophy this fall, Callahan beat some considerable odds just to make it this far.

The only other Wolverines to sign NFL free-agent contracts were defensive lineman Bryan Robinson and receiver Larry Beavers. Along with being a small-college player, Callahan stands only 6-foot-1, 216 pounds — a little on the small side for an NFL quarterback.

But Wesley coach Mike Drass has said all along that he believes Callahan has a strong enough arm to make the throws required of a pro QB.

“We’re really excited for him getting this opportunity,” said Drass. “When he came in as a freshman, we knew he was good. But Joe is a guy who got to this point in his career with a lot of hard work — both physically and mentally.”

Callahan, who threw for 5,068 yards and 55 touchdowns as a senior, got a call from the Packers’ coaching staff almost as soon as the NFL Draft ended on Saturday.

While Callahan had heard from a few NFL teams, the Packers had clearly shown the most interest in him. He’ll fly to Green Bay on Thursday for next weekend’s rookie camp.

There were plenty of phone calls to be made to family and friends as the news started to spread. The reality of it all was starting to sink for Callahan.

“That’s all I was hoping for the whole time — just an opportunity,” he said. “Whether it was an invite to rookie camp, if I got signed as a free agent — whatever it was — I just wanted to get a chance to show off my talent and show that I can play at the next level. Like I said, it’s just a dream come true.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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