Former Hawaii star and one-time Riders quarterback Colt Brennan passes away at age 37

Photo courtesy: Hawaii Athletics

One-time Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Colt Brennan passed away on Tuesday.

The Costa Mesa Police Department stated the 37-year-old was taken to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, CA where he was pronounced dead after an overdose.

Brennan became a star at the University of Hawaii during a decorated career that saw him become a Heisman Trophy finalist. The Irvine, CA native set the NCAA single-season record for touchdown passes with 58 in 2006 while throwing for 5,549 yards and completing over 72 percent of his passes. That TD mark stood until Cincinnati Bengals 2020 No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick, Joe Burrow recorded 60 in 2019 with Louisiana State University.

His decision to forgo the NFL Draft and return for his senior season was a pivotal moment in the history of the Hawaii football program. He helped lead the Rainbow Warriors to a 12-0 regular season in 2007 and the Western Athletic Conference title, that team was inducted in the UH Circle of Honour. Former Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones was the bench boss at Hawaii for Brennan’s entire career.

“It’s just a sad day for all of Hawaii. Colt was clearly the star of our program and what he did after the 2006 season by staying in school, said a lot about him and how he cared much more about Hawaii and his teammates. That’s something that doesn’t happen anymore,” Jones said in a statement.

The Washington Football Team selected Brennan in the sixth round, 186th overall during the 2008 NFL Draft. The six-foot-two, 207-pound pivot earned a backup quarterback role in his rookie season. During training camp in 2009, Brennan suffered a torn hamstring and hip injury that ended his season and the setbacks derailed his NFL career.

In 2012, Brennan signed with the Riders and lots of hype accompanied his arrival in the Saskatchewan capital, but he was released during training camp while Darian Durant was the starter and Drew Willy earned the backup job. That was the last pro football shot for Brennan.