Sometime down the road, Brady Quinn will have time to assess the events of the past few days and the impact they’ve had on his life.
That time isn’t at hand, not with the Chiefs preparing for Sunday’s game against the Browns in Cleveland.
“We’re still kind of in the midst of the storm right now,” Quinn said. “You’ve got to try to be able to climb to a higher point to get a better vantage point, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that until we have some more time away from the situation.”
Quinn, like his teammates and coaches, had a front-row seat for Saturday’s tragic events involving linebacker Jovan Belcher. Quinn was so distraught after hearing that Belcher had fatally shot his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself that he wondered about his ability to play in a game the next day.
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But Quinn started that game against Carolina at quarterback and had one of the best outings of his NFL career. For that, he was selected Wednesday as the AFC’s offensive player of the week.
Quinn was widely lauded for his postgame comments, in which he urged people to get off their cell phones and social networks and connect with one another in person.
Together, the events of last weekend are enough to alter a career, if not a life. Perhaps they will for Quinn, who is trying to resurrect his career after 21/2 seasons as a backup.
For now, Quinn said he’s having difficulty processing it all.
“I don’t know if there is a way to sum it up based on the way everything happened,” Quinn said. “My thoughts and concerns were just trying to focus and doing the best I could during the game when I was playing. Then, after that, just trying to do some soul searching and praying about the forgiveness for the families, and that people could find peace with the situation.
“The emotions are still pretty raw. After the season, it might be something where you’re able to kind of sit down and reflect on all of it. Right now, it’s kind of tough. There (was) a memorial service (Wednesday) for Jovan. Obviously, we’re preparing for Cleveland. We’re just again trying to direct all of our focus to our preparation for the game, and afterwards, we’ll be able to hopefully seek that peace that everyone is trying to find with the situation.”
On Sunday, in a barely plausible coincidence at this particular juncture of his career, Quinn will face the team that drafted him out of Notre Dame. He was a first-round pick by the Browns in 2007, when they were coached by current Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel, and played three seasons for them before being traded to Denver after the 2009 season.
Quinn grew up in Ohio as a Browns fan, so getting the chance to play for them as a first-round pick fulfilled a childhood dream. Sunday’s game will heap even more on Quinn’s emotional plate.
“I think Brady will handle himself well,” Crennel said. “He always does. He’s level-headed. I don’t think he will let going home get him out of sorts.”
Quinn started just 12 games in three seasons for the Browns, who gave up on him quickly after they fired Crennel. He lasted one season after Crennel was gone under the Browns’ next coach, Eric Mangini.
Mangini wasted no time after that season getting rid of Quinn.
“You wish you would have a little more stability when you’re in a situation regardless of what you’re in,” Quinn said of the change in Cleveland’s front office and coaching staff while he was there. “I look (at the Browns) now, and there are maybe only six guys, seven guys that I was with three years ago on that team. It’s just a tough scenario when you’ve got so many moving parts and everything’s constantly changing when you can’t get some stability.
“Things never go the way you expect them to in life. My mind is not really on my career. If I’ve learned anything in my career, it’s that you really can’t take things past one day at a time. This league, it’s such a roller-coaster ride no matter who you are that you’ve just got to continue to try to get better every day and focus on the task at hand. That’s got to be where your focus is.”