Former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan dies after being discovered unconscious at a rehab facility
Record-setting former University of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan has died at the age of 37 after being found unconscious at an in-patient rehabilitation facility in California, his family has confirmed.
Brennan, who has had public struggles with alcohol, died at Hoag Hospital in Newport, California on Monday, his father Terry Brennan, told The Associated Press.
‘He just spent one too many times on the dark side of life, and it caught up with him,’ Terry Brennan said of his son.
Brennan, who used a cane and wore a leg brace, went to California a few months ago for rehab for his injuries, including blood clots in his legs, his father said.
He had been living at an addiction treatment center in Costa Mesa. His father said he took him to a hospital emergency room on Sunday because his son had been drinking. ‘I could tell he was not well and needed help,’ Terry said.
But the detox facility was full, so without his family realizing it, Brennan was released. He was unconscious when he was taken back to the hospital, where he later died, his father said.
It’s not clear exactly where Brennan was found unconscious, or who found him.
‘They released him out on the street and either he made a call or he got Uber or something. And now this is what we’re dealing with.’
Record-setting former University of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan has died at age 37 after being discovered unconscious at an in-patient rehabilitation facility in California , his family has confirmed. In this picture from his playing days, Brennan is seen with a map of Hawaii dyed onto the side of his head following a 63-6 win over Northern Colorado
(Left) Brennan pictured during his brief stint with the Washington Redskins in 2007 and 2008. (Right) Brennan is seen on a deep sea fishing trip in 2018
‘He was doing so well, the spark was back in his eyes, and he was healthy and doing great, and it happened,’ said Terry, adding that he was surrounded by family when he passed.
‘He went peacefully,’ Terry continued. ‘He listened to Bob Marley. His sisters had a lei around him when he was unconscious. They had the music of Bob Marley playing near his ear.’
After a brief stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins in 2008 and 2009, Brennan had struggled in recent years following the traumatic brain injury he suffered in a 2010 car accident.
He continued playing professional football, both in the Canadian and Arena leagues, but was arrested several times for offenses ranging from driving under the influence to trespassing to filing a false police report.
As his father told the Star Advertiser, Brennan’s life had been turning around in rehab.
‘He had been doing really [well],’ Terry added. ‘These guys were no-nonsense guys. It just got away from him. I don’t know how else to explain it. Maybe one day I’ll be able to explain it better.’
In November, Brennan was arrested at his Big Island home after banging on a housemate’s door with a chair. When he entered the room, he fell on the roommate, causing both to fall to the floor. Brennan was arrested for disorderly conduct, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
It was the second time in fourth months he had been arrested, In August, he was taken into custody for trespassing at the Kona Seaside Hotel after allegedly causing a disturbance and refusing to leave.
In both incidents, police described Brennan as being heavily intoxicated, the Big Island newspaper reported. The charge was later dismissed.
In December 2019, he was arrested on Oahu for driving under the influence without insurance and leaving the scene of an accident.
Four years before that, he was charged with filing a false report that his vehicle was stolen, the newspaper reported. That case was also later dismissed.
He also pleaded no contest to DUI in 2013 for a traffic stop on Oahu a year earlier.
In 2010, he was a passenger in an SUV that was involved in a head-on crash. He suffered head, rib and collarbone injuries.
In 2007, Brennan (left) led Hawaii to a perfect 12-0 regular season before losing to fourth-ranked Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Rainbow Warriors finished the season ranked 19th in the country. He ultimately finished behind Arkansas running back Darren McFadden (center) and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (right) in the Heisman voting
Brennan became a late-night football sensation with the unheralded Rainbow Warriors beginning in 2005, rewriting the NCAA record book when most college fans were asleep back on the continent.
Eventually, as he set new marks for touchdown passes in a career (131) and a single season (58 in 2006), fans began staying up late to catch some of Brennan’s highlights against Western Athletic Conference competition.
‘Colt Brennan’s 2006 season was one of the most fun to watch in recent college football memory: 5,549 passing yards and 58 TD in 14 games,’ ESPN’s Field Yates wrote on Twitter. ‘Those late Saturday night Hawaii games were must see. RIP and condolences to his family.’
In 2007, Brennan led Hawaii to a perfect 12-0 regular season before losing to fourth-ranked Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The Rainbow Warriors finished the season ranked 19th in the country.
Brennan’s high school, California’s Mater Dei, offered thoughts and prayers to his family
Brennan became a late-night football sensation with the unheralded Rainbow Warriors beginning in 2005, rewriting the NCAA record book when most college fans were asleep back on the continent. Eventually, as he set new marks for touchdown passes in a career (131) and a single season (58 in 2006), fans began staying up late to catch some of Brennan’s highlights against Western Athletic Conference competition
Brennan wasn’t highly recruited after backing up future Heisman winner Matt Leinart at Mater Dei High School in Southern California.
Later, he was dismissed at the University of Colorado after allegedly trespassing into a female student’s dorm room, exposing himself and fondling her, according to multiple reports. However, Brennan denied those charges and a guilty verdict for unlawful sexual contact was later vacated due to lack of evidence.
Brennan set NCAA records for touchdown passes in a career and a single season
After being kicked off the Colorado football team, Brennan then enrolled at the University of Hawaii, where he instantly became a star, completing over 70 percent of his passes over three seasons as team’s starting quarterback.
He finished sixth in the 2006 Heisman voting and third the following season, losing out to Florida’s Tim Tebow.
Brennan’s brief NFL career did lead to other opportunities, by which point he had already suffered the head injury that later ended his playing days.
He played for both the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League in 2011 and Saskatchewan in the CFL the following season before his head injury was determined to be too serious for him to continue on with his career.
Ultimately, Brennan’s football career came to an end with the Arena League’s Los Angeles Kiss in 2014 when neurological tests revealed the extent of his head injury.
‘They did some tests, and there were major concerns about me playing football,’ Brennan told the Star Advertiser in 2014. ‘I was medically not cleared to play.’
University of Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan (15) points to the sky and smiles during the BCS selection show gathering at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu