CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner on Tuesday night emotionally talked about the end of his college playing career after suffering a shoulder injury that will require season-ending surgery. Here’s the story.
You had to feel for Renner, whose time at UNC has been marred by adversity. He came here to play for Butch Davis, and then the NCAA violations scandal erupted. Renner’s first season as a starting quarterback was in 2011 under interim coach Everett Withers. And then Larry Fedora arrived and installed a completely different offense.
Along the way, Renner played through injuries and played through a postseason ban that kept the Tar Heels out of the ACC championship game last season. Entering this season, Renner had hoped to lead UNC to the Coastal Division championship. It didn’t work out that way.
At the least, he hoped to lead the Tar Heels to a bowl game after their disappointing 1-5 start. Now that responsibility will fall on Marquise Williams, the third-year sophomore who will now be the full-time starting quarterback.
It’s a sad end for Renner, but there is some good news, at least. He injured his non-throwing shoulder. And he said he should be able to resume throwing again in late December, after several weeks of rehabilitation. Renner met with reporters on Tuesday night for as long as people had questions for him.
Here’s some of what he had to say, in his own words:
“It’s tough, you know. Just the fact that it’s over, it kind of just sunk in. So it’s been a good five years, but I can’t thank coaches and teammates and all my brothers in the locker room. (They) mean a lot to me. I’m sorry for getting emotional. But this team means a lot to me, and I gave it all I had for five years. Just tough right now.”
“I just thought it was a bruise. I’ve played through a lot of injuries through the last three years I’ve started. And just (came) in on Sunday, went through the normal process, got the X-rays and then headed up to MRI. And when I came back in on Sunday, they really didn’t have the results in. And Monday, I was getting kind of worried, because I didn’t hear anything back.”
“I kind of partially tore my labrum and then fractured my scapula. So that’s the diagnosis right now, but until they go in there they really don’t see the extent of the injury right now. … I’ve had this surgery before (in high school) and you really can’t tell until you get in there. I had it when I was a senior in high school.”
“They said by the end of December I can start throwing again and kind of getting on my feet and getting the range of motion, but it’s all going to depend on how I progress. And I responded really quickly in high school, and got back to playing my senior year of baseball. So hopefully, I know how to rehab and I’m going to work my tail off to get back soon as possible and prepare for the combine and prepare for anything for my future.”
“I don’t want to be a distraction to this team. We’re rolling right now. Marquise is going to do a great job, Kanler is going to do a great job. They’re going to put their full effort on the field, and that’s one thing I don’t want to be, is be a distraction for this team.”
“You know, it’s been rough. Three coaches in five years. I’ve seen it all. Experienced it all. Not being able to go to a bowl game by winning the (Coastal Division) title, and (we) accomplished a lot in my career. And one thing I’m proud of is I gave it 110 every time that I strapped it up on Saturdays and that’s one thing I’m going to miss, is Saturdays. And I’d like to thank the fans and everybody that supported me through this whole time.”
“Coming here, 19 years old and being 23 now, you’ve seen it all and heard it all, and basically done it all. And it’s really grown me to be a man. In a really quick timeframe. Just dealing with adversity, almost every week. Dealing with something new has really grown me to be a man.”
“We’ve been so close through the years of going through everything – bowl bans, new coaches. And we’ve had to adapt. And I’d like to say I’ve been the leader through all that, and I think it really showed by them showing their support, so I can’t thank them enough.”
“Since coach Fedora got here, him and his staff have done a great job. I can’t thank coach Anderson enough for teaching me how to play the game in a different offense. And that was one of the biggest things that I learned from, was learning a whole new offense in about a year, going through ankle surgery. And you know, just can’t give him enough credit for allowing me to keep playing the game. He could have brought his own guy in, and he didn’t do that. And I really appreciate him and this whole staff for giving me the opportunity.”
“Never forget (my first time on the practice fields). I was wearing a visor, had my chin strap buckled. I remember just coming out here with just tons of energy. And just being a college quarterback, it was my dream – my dream growing up. And I’ll never forget taking snaps with Coop and all those guys, and the memories that I had with my teammates. And I have a ton of memories, and a ton of friendships were made on this field.”
“I don’t think so. Life is unfair. You deal with the circumstances. But I think it’s definitely growing me up and (increased my) maturity level as far as how to handle situations. And it’s built my character and taught me valuable lessons of just keep moving on. And you can say all that stuff – it’s unfair. But I think it’s very fair and I’ve had a great career.”