BEREA — Colt McCoy didn’t flinch when Jets linebacker Bart Scott hit him under the chin Sunday, drawing a 15-yard roughing-thepasser penalty. He got up, jogged down the field and, two plays later, the Browns scored a touchdown.
“Hits are hits. You know it’s going to happen,” McCoy, the rookie Browns quarterback, said Thursday.
Taking Scott’s best shot is noteworthy.
But on the toughness scale, McCoy came in a distant second last week to his grandfather, Burl McCoy.
Burl, 78, was thrown from a tractor and run over on the family farm in Brownwood, Texas. He got up, chased after the tractor to turn it off and walked back to the house before passing out. He was in critical condition after breaking his sternum and some ribs, but went home Wednesday.
“He’s a tough old man,” Colt said. “He’s going to be fine. I talked to him and he said he’s cool, don’t worry about me, just do what you do.”
Colt spent his youth working on the cattle ranch in central Texas, where they also sow wheat and cotton.
“It’s spring to fall to harvest to spring to fall to harvest,” he said. “Every day he goes at it.”
Without McCoy, Burl has taken on more of the work. The tractor tipped him off and rolled over him, breaking the bones and cutting his face. He woke up and he was stuck against a tree.
“He got up, turned the tractor off and then walked down to the house and called my uncle. And by the time my uncle got there, he had passed out. He’s tough,” Colt said.
Burl is a member of the Abilene Christian University Sports Hall of Fame for his work as an athlete and as the former women’s basketball coach. Burl’s son Brad, Colt’s father, was a safety at Abilene Christian and is the coach at Graham High school. He formerly coached Colt at Tuscola High.
Browns coaches and teammates say Colt received the athletic and toughness genes. He’s in line to make his fifth straight start and has handled everything thrown at him.
“There’s been a lot of pressure that could have been put on him from who he’s faced so far and being such a young guy in that role,” coach Eric Mangini said. “You wouldn’t really know that anything has changed in terms of his personality in the building, the meetings.
“He’s very under control throughout the course of the game. It’s not too high or too low, it’s just steady.”
At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, McCoy’s one of the smaller guys in the locker room. But he’s scrappy.
“I know it’s not the NFL, but I’ve been hit a lot,” he said. “You see a quarterback getting hit, your line sees you get hit, you pop back up and then we go down two more plays and score. Sometimes you can turn that into a positive.”
“You have to be tough to play that spot,” Mangini said. “You’re going to get hit and you’ve got to sit in there knowing that you could be hit from behind, too. There are a lot of angles that you could get knocked down and it takes some courage to do that.”
McCoy is even tougher mentally.
He wasn’t fazed by opening his career against the difficult defenses of Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New England and the New York Jets. He’s 2-2, completing 64.6 percent of his passes with three touchdowns, two interceptions and an 85.2 rating. He took another important step by leading a tying touchdown drive against the Jets late in the fourth quarter, making three straight clutch throws to force overtime.
“That was another one of those firsts that you have to look at, evaluate and he did a really outstanding job with it,” Mangini said.
“He always has that serious look on his face,” tight end Evan Moore said. “He knows how to joke around, but he’s all business. I think a lot of the better quarterbacks have that same approach.”
McCoy started 36 games in high school, becoming the all-time passing leader in Texas 2A history and sixth overall in Texas high school history. He started 53 games at Texas, winning an NCAA-record 45.
“I’ve just been around the game long enough to understand that the quarterback is the leader on the team, it’s the guy your teammates are looking to and you’ve got to be even-keel,” he said. “If your teammates see you too excited or when you make a mistake too down, you’re not going to be consistent. Just try to stay calm, stay cool and just continue to lead.”
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