Browns quarterback Colt McCoy's new book, "Growing Up Colt," has recently been released. I read the book last night and discussed it with McCoy this morning in a phone interview.
As the title suggests, the book features several anecdotes from McCoy's childhood and adolescence. It also provides insight into how his father, Brad, and mother, Debra, raised their three sons.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book, which was co-authored by McCoy, his father and writer Mike Yorkey, for Browns fans is the first chapter, which is titled, "Rookie Start in Blitzburgh." (You can read Chapter 1 here.) In the opening chapter, McCoy reveals how tough it was for him to be the third-string quarterback early last season.
McCoy describes the disappointment he felt in the Browns' Week 5 game against the Atlanta Falcons, when he didn't get a chance to replace Seneca Wallace after Wallace suffered a high-ankle sprain late in the first half. Jake Delhomme, who was still recovering from a high-ankle sprain of his own, was called upon to substitute for Wallace.
According to the book, after the Browns' loss to the Falcons, McCoy initially thought the team would rather sign a veteran free agent to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6 than give him a shot. "Since the Cleveland coaches had treated me like a leper since the season began, I figured they were busy making phone calls to bring in a veteran free agent."
In my interview with McCoy, he addressed some of the issues mentioned in the first chapter along with other topics about the book. Here is part of the question-and-answer session:
Q: What made you decide to do the book?
A: "We were skeptical at first. When we were approached to write a book, I was just thinking, 'Why? It’s not like I’ve won a Super Bowl or done anything real extraordinary that’s really book worthy.' But they approached us more along the lines of writing this book in a way to kind of talk about some of the experiences I’ve had, the ups and downs, the things that I’ve faced in my life growing up, along with some of the lessons and the principles that my mom and dad tried to use in raising me. So I think it’s a book that will connect with a wide variety of people, whether it be church groups, youth groups, things like that, fathers, sons, fathers with their kids. ... There’s a ton of stories in there that really kind of really bring a lot of things together. This book’s really not like, ‘Here I am. Here I’ve arrived. I’ve done these things.' It’s more along the lines of, 'Here’s some things that I struggled with growing up. Here’s some stories. Here’s some principles that my mom and dad tried to use in raising me.' We tried to put all that together. I think it’s a pretty unique book, and I think people will really enjoy it."
Q: What's the main message you hope people will take from the book?
A: "There’s several. I guess the main message would be, 'Hey, I’m not perfect in any way. Here’s some things that I went through, some experiences that I learned (from) growing up. Hopefully you can learn from some of these, and it will help you in your life if you’re an athlete trying to make it, if you’re a father trying to raise your kids, a mother trying to raise your kids.' I just think all those things, there will be different points taken from every different person who reads it. For me, I think it’s a good idea, and my dad and I are proud to have done it together. It was fun doing it together. There’s some pretty cool stuff in there."
Q: Is there anything in the book that you were hesitant about including?
A: "I guess the one main thing that I’ve been really hesitant about this whole time, really hesitant about even writing the book, was I don’t want people to get the sense when they read this book, (that I'm) like, 'I’ve done all these great things. Look at me. Here I am.' You know, that type of book. I really wanted to put some things in there to make me sound normal, like a human being. Yeah, I’ve struggled. Yeah, I’ve had to overcome a lot of things to get where I am. Just because I’m in the NFL, that doesn’t mean I’ve let go of my goals and dreams. I have set so many high expectations for myself starting now. You could even put all those in the book. My biggest fear is I didn’t want to write anything that -- you know, this is not a controversial book -- I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes. All I did was kind of want to, with the author Mike Yorkey and with my dad, just try to put some things down that would really make an impact on somebody else's life and help them because of some of the things that I’ve gone through."
Q: Is there something in the book that you knew had to be in there and that you would be proud of?
A: "I guess for me, I think writing a book, it allows you to put some things out there that some people who know you might not know and people who don’t know you will get to know a lot about you. So I wanted to portray what’s the most important thing about me. What makes me tick? I would hope that they would see through this book that my faith is the No. 1 thing in my life. It’s what guides me. It’s what allows me to do what I do, make the decision that I make. That’s by far the most important thing, and I hope that’s portrayed throughout this book in a way that people will see that and learn from it maybe."
Q: The book describes you as feeling like "the forgotten man on the roster," and it says former Browns coach Eric Mangini and his staff treated you like a "leper." Was the beginning of the 2010 season tougher for you than you let on?
A: "Yeah, it was a little tough, expectedly. I think it’s no secret. We all knew for a third-string quarterback in the NFL, that’s kind of how it is and that’s kind of how it starts for a lot of guys. (Browns President Mike) Holmgren was great and just said, 'Look, it’s not in our plans for you to play. Here’s what we want you to do. We drafted you. We expect things out of you. But right now, we expect you to just sit there and watch.' So yeah, I don’t want some of those things in the beginning of the book to come across as I’m bashing anybody. I’m just telling you some of my emotions, some of how I felt, some of the ways our coaches coached. Last year, that’s kind of how you feel. For me, it was one of those down times where you have to learn from, grow from and take something positive and really learn from it. I hope that’s what I did."
Q: The book describes your disappointment when Mangini decided to play Delhomme after Wallace was hurt against the Falcons. Was that something that lit a fire?
A: "Despite what the book says and how it kind of puts that together, I went into the game as the No. 2 quarterback. But I knew that if something happened, Jake was OK to play and that he probably would. At that time, I still hadn’t even taken a snap. I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t really surprised that that’s what happened. Did I want to play? Absolutely. But I think it all worked out the right way because after (Delhomme) went down again, I was able to have a week of preparation before I actually went into a game."