Last August, Connor Shaw was biting his nails, wondering if he had done enough in training camp and the preseason to secure a spot on the Cleveland Browns roster.
In an unlikely rise, Shaw found himself promoted from the practice squad to the starting quarterback for the Browns' finale against the Ravens. Behind Shaw's gusty performance, Cleveland had Baltimore on the ropes in the fourth quarter, nearly eliminating its rival from the playoffs.
Shaw proved one thing for sure in his first NFL start: He's capable of playing in the NFL.
The quarterback recently sat down with the The Greenville News*. *Using tidbits from that article and some from our own notebook, here are five things we learned about the 23-year-old.
1) Shaw is as family-oriented as they come. His wife Molly and daughter Mila are the stars of his Instagram. Shaw recently moved to Greenville to make a home closer to his family in Georgia.
2) In that Baltimore game, Shaw actually fought through a dislocated finger and a rib injury serious enough that he could barely get out of bed the next day. The fact that he stayed in the game resonated with the Cleveland locker room and especially the coaching staff.
3) "Connor Shaw went out there and battled," Pettine said in the days after the Baltimore game. "He took some major shots during the game and got up. It's a credit to him. He wasn't coming out. He showed some things yesterday."
4) Shaw said playing defense – yes, he lined up at safety – during scout team practices helped him see the NFL game from a different angle. Shaw is open to anything that will give him an advantage as a quarterback.
5) Growing up, Shaw worshipped Steve Spurrier and the Florida Gators – even dressing up as the legendary ball coach for Halloween one year. Shaw said Spurrier never handed him the starting job at any point at South Carolina. That "fighter's mentality" helped him during his first NFL season.
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