Connor Halliday hasn't given any interviews since news broke this morning that the former WSU quarterback wasn't with Washington on the first day of rookie minicamp, but we did get his first public words this afternoon by way of Spokesman-Review writer Vince Grippi, whom Halliday texted with a two-word statement.
Grippi, who covered the Cougars as the S-R's beat writer for years and is a long-time Spokane sports journalist who now blogs daily for the S-R, was sitting in on the Patchin, Lukens and Osso show this afternoon. He said Halliday wouldn't elaborate, only saying that it wasn't injury related.
Connor Halliday no longer with Washington
The former WSU quarterback didn't show up to the NFL team's rookie minicamp and isn't listed on its roster. One writer is reporting Halliday has lost his desire to play football.
"I texted Connor, just to find out what was going on, and he texted back, and he just said that he's done," Grippi said. "He wouldn't say why -- because I did ask him, and he wouldn't say why, which is fine, I respect that. But he just said he's done, he's not going to play football anymore. I asked him if he was hurt, and he said no, he's just done."
Grippi said all seemed normal as Halliday was preparing to ship out to the nation's capital.
"I know last weekend he was talking to people here in town and going over some things and seemed excited," Grippi said. "I talked to Jim Sharkey, his high school coach up at Ferris; they had talked last Sunday, and (Halliday) was really excited about starting (his career). That's why I found this really hard to believe."
As we all did. Heck, Halliday had just done an interview with the Washington Times a couple of days ago in which he said, "Yeah I got here Sunday. It's been real great ever since. I really appreciate the opportunity that Coach Gruden and Mr. McCloughan are giving me. Ever since I've been here, we have quarterback meetings in the morning, then we're out on the field for drills. Then lifting and running in the afternoon. More meetings. Then get back to the hotel around 5 [o'clock], and usually lay down and decompress a little bit, then get back in the playbook."
That certainly doesn't sound like a guy on the verge of hanging up his cleats. While those outside the WSU program would say, "Well, what do you expect him to say?", we all know Connor better than that -- hiding his true feelings isn't really his strong suit, right? The reporter who did the midweek interview had no inkling something was amiss. Halliday even talked about the prospect of making the team as an undrafted free agent.
"I don't really think [going undrafted] affects my mentality," Halliday said. "If you look at it, actually, last year there were more rookie free agents that made teams than guys that got drafted, which is a pretty crazy stat but it actually happened last year. So I don't think it affects my mentality in any way.
"I think it makes it a little tougher, a little more tough I guess in the short-term to make the team. If you're drafted, you kind of have a little bit more wiggle room in the sense of say you have a bad preseason game or something like that. But yeah, everything I've had to do in my career has kind of been the hard way, between lacerating my liver, a coaching staff change, not getting recruited that heavily, all of those things. So, I wasn't too surprised by it. It's kind of just the way things go for me, which I've come to expect and I don't mind. It is what is."
Which led Grippi and the others to conclude what I figured this morning: There simply has to be more to the story, because this just doesn't make sense. For Halliday to put in the years and years of work -- including rehabbing from a broken leg suffered six months ago -- to get to this point ... and then walk away?
Something must have happened.
Grippi said, "I had heard some things about maybe (Washington was) going to put him on the I.R., that maybe he wasn't completely recovered, ready to go, just sort of heard rumblings of that." Maybe the brass in D.C. weren't straight with him regarding their roster plans, and Halliday had a visceral reaction?
We just won't know until Halliday expands on his two-word statement. But I guarantee one thing: This story isn't over.