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A Chaplain Brought Mark Brunell To Washington, And The QB Saved Joe Gibbs’ Life

Posted by Gabe Hiatt on January 24, 2014 – 10:03 am



The first man to recruit quarterback Mark Brunell to Washington was not Joe Gibbs or a front office executive.

During an interview with “The Sports Fix” on ESPN980, Thom Loverro asked Brunell the full story of how he was traded from the Jaguars to the Redskins before the 2004 season. Brunell told the host he knew was on the outs in Jacksonville when the Jaguars spent a first-round draft pick on Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich. His first indication the Redskins were interested came from an unlikely source.

“Actually (I) got word through a friend of mine, who was at that time the chaplain of the Washington Redskins, Brett Fuller,” Brunell said. “And he had mentioned that Joe Gibbs was interested. Immediately, I got excited… I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Just the opportunity to play for him was  a dream come true for me.”

Brunell rehashed the story a recruiting trip with a terrible start. Gibbs flew to Jacksonville, and as soon as the diabetic coach landed, he didn’t feel right. 

“The older that story gets, the more dramatic it becomes,” Brunell said.

“If I remember correctly, he got off the jet at St. Augustine airport and said, ‘Hey, listen, I either took the wrong medication. I didn’t take enough or too much. I don’t know, but you’ve got to get me to the hospital.’ I thought. I’ve got Joe Gibbs, Hall-of-Fame coach, an NFL legend, and his life is in my hands right now. So we get in the car and get to the hospital, the closest hospital I could find. He turned out to be fine. They checked him. We were probably at the hospital for about three hours. But during that time, those three hours, we just got to hang out, talk football. While it was not under the best circumstance, I did get to spend some time with my future head coach.”


Loverro and Kevin Sheehan agreed a drive to the hospital is grounds for a life-saving act.

Listen to the full interview to hear the true length of Al Saunder’s tome of a playbook, why Brunell thinks Robert Griffin III is fortunate to have Jay Gruden and why he thinks running quarterbacks are not a fad.

For the record, the man behind the Monday Night Miracle would not put himself in the same league as Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson or RG3 as a dual-threat.

“Those guys are special,” Brunell said. “Me? I was just a kid that wasn’t a very good passer when I was young and just decided to run around a little bit.”


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2 Responses to “A Chaplain Brought Mark Brunell To Washington, And The QB Saved Joe Gibbs’ Life”

  1. By Ron Roesink on Jan 25, 2014 | Reply

    Mark awesome story and God was directing both of you as you know. I also think you do a great job on NFL LIVE particularly this morning. 1/25/14.
    I wondered if you could do me a great favor and watch a high school senior QB that I coach named JARED DRAKE. He was 1st team all state in our largest HS division in OHIO. He has a phenomenal story which I will tell you if you like what you see. GO TO : http://www.coach-sink.com click on Quarterbacks 2014, click on JARED DRAKE. Thanks for the comments I really appreciate it. Coach Sink

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  2. Jan 24, 2014: Daily Slop: Redskins add Assistant Offensive Line Coach Shane Day; Alfred Morris mic'd up at Pro Bowl Practice | Sports Discovery

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