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Ex-Packers punter's son looking to make it as QB the hard way

Feb. 20, 2014
 
North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner warms up before a game against Miami in Chapel Hill, N.C., last October. File/Getty Images
North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner warms up before a game against Miami in Chapel Hill, N.C., last October. File/Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – Going into last season, Bryn Renner was looking like a one of the better quarterback prospects for the 2014 NFL draft.

But after a strong showing at the Manning Passing Academy last summer, Renner, the son of former Packers punter Bill Renner, got off to a slow start in 2013 at the University of North Carolina and then sustained a season-ending injury to his non-throwing shoulder in the seventh game.

He’s now fully cleared for football activities, 3½ months after undergoing surgery on his shoulder and attending the NFL scouting combine this week as an early arrival to throw to the tight ends. He is looking like a late-round draft pick or more likely an undrafted free agent.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to play at this level,” Renner said at the combine on Thursday. “If a team wants to draft me, that’s great, I’ll be excited about it. But if I have to go the long and hard way, I’m looking forward to that as well.”

Renner (6-foot-2¼, 219 pounds) was the starting quarterback at North Carolina beginning in his sophomore season and finished his career as the school’s leader in completion percentage (66.8), second all-time in touchdown passes (64) and third all-time in passing yards (8,221).

But North Carolina started last season 1-5 – Renner missed one of the losses because of a foot injury – and Renner occasionally was yielding playing time to redshirt freshman Marquise Williams. Then Renner sustained a torn labrum and broken bone in his left shoulder against North Carolina State that ended his season.

“At the beginning of the season there was a lot more hype about me and things like that,” Renner said. “Unfortunately, adversity hits, and you have to deal with it. You can’t cry about it, you can’t whine about it, you just have to man up and deal with it. I realize this game can humble you. We started out 1-5, we reached a bowl game without me. The biggest thing I learned this injury has helped me as a player and as a person.”

Bill Renner, who coached Bryn in high school in Springfield, Va., was a backup running back and punter in college at Virginia Tech, where he eventually became a full-time punter because of concussions. He punted for the Packers for parts of the 1986 and 1987 seasons.

He went to camp with the Packers in 1986 and lost the job to Don Bracken, but was brought back for the final three games after Bracken dislocated an elbow. He then punted in three games in 1987 with the Packers’ strike-replacement team.

“He’s shared stories (about Green Bay),” Bryn said. “He’s been a great role model for me and I’m blessed to have him the whole time I’ve been growing up and telling me stories about being a pro and how to conduct yourself. So I’ve been very fortunate. But he has told me stories about how cold it was in Green Bay and everything like that.”

Besides being a high school coach, Bill Renner was the punting coach for former Packers punter Jeremy Kapinos.

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