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McGloin Faces Bleak Odds With Raiders

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Matt McGloin signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders after he had an unsuccessful tryout with the Carolina Panthers. Photo by Lance King/Getty Images.
Matt McGloin signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders after he had an unsuccessful tryout with the Carolina Panthers. Photo by Lance King/Getty Images.

Odds are that Matt McGloin will not wear Oakland’s black and silver in September.

He is just the extra arm that the Oakland Raiders brought in for training camp and the preseason.

He is just the quarterback who will get reps with the team’s seventh and eighth receivers.

He is just the guy the fan base will overlook, because of how little the team invested in him — a mostly non-guaranteed $1.5 million for three years, which is like playing for free by NFL standards.

He is also the guy that has overcome underwhelming expectations before.

McGloin was a walk-on at Penn State in 2008.

He was a bottom-of-the-depth-chart arm to his coaches and a never-heard-of-him player to fans.

Sounds like a future star, doesn’t he?

Things got better.

McGloin became Darryl Clark’s back-up in his second season at Penn State and earned a scholarship from the coaching staff.

He became the team’s starting quarterback halfway through 2010, but he wasn’t a special quarterback.

Still isn’t.

So, Happy Valley sweetened and soured on McGloin every other week for two years until Penn State’s sixth game last season.

Penn State was hosting the undefeated Northwestern Wildcats, no juggernaut by anyone’s standards, but a team that would eventually win the Gator Bowl against the SEC’s Mississippi St.

The Nittany Lions trailed 28-17 going into the fourth quarter, and fans trickled out of Beaver Stadium.

What those fans that went AWOL missed was a clinical comeback engineered by McGloin.

He completed 13 of 15 passes in the fourth quarter, threw a touchdown pass to cut Northwestern’s lead to four and scored the go-ahead touchdown on the ground.

McGloin’s game-winning score was the type of play that would have ended fruitlessly before that game.

McGloin was in shotgun formation at Northestern’s 5-yard line and read the defense’s play before it happened. The Wildcats rushed five defenders on McGloin’s blindside, rushed only two defenders on the other side and left four defensive backs in man coverage.

He calmly received the snap, lured the rushing defenders into the pocket and scrambled to the right corner of the end zone where he beat the Northwestern’s defense to the pylon.

That is the moment that the chorus of Beaver Stadium boos McGloin had heard so many times before would stop forever.

It is the moment that, for the cliché of all clichés, he won everyone over.

Maybe it was Bill O’Brien who tipped McGloin off to what Northwestern would do in that situation. Maybe McGloin just realized it himself.

Regardless of how McGloin knew what Northwestern was going to do, he reacted in a way that he rarely had before.

Complete poise.

Now, McGloin is just an expendable part of a different football team that has invested far more in its other quarterbacks — Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson.

And not one undrafted player has thrown a pass for the Raiders since punter Leo Araguz failed to convert a fourth down conversion in 1998.

The last undrafted quarterback to throw a pass for the Raiders was Larry Lawrence in 1975.

It’s alright.

McGloin knows what it feels like to be unwanted.

Just, now, he knows what it feels like to be undrafted.

And it feels the same as it did five years ago when he walked on at Penn State.

The only difference now is that he knows what is coming.

He knows how he will be overlooked and under-appreciated.

He also knows that it does not matter what anyone says the odds are.