Former Linfield QB, now in San Diego, is in it for long haul
by: RYAN GARDNER, Brett Elliott set records at Linfield. Now he’s out to prove he can make it in the NFL.

He'll enter the San Diego Chargers' training camp this month as the No. 4 quarterback, and with an outside chance of making the team - on its practice squad, or being relegated to NFL Europe.

No matter what happens, record-setting Linfield QB Brett Elliott plans to persevere in pro football.

'Anytime you're fighting for a spot as an undrafted guy, it's going to be long odds,' he says. 'It definitely would have helped to be drafted. That was a big blow. I'm trying to hang on any way I can.

'But my whole attitude I'm taking is it's a long process. It might not happen for me this year, or even with San Diego. I'm willing to wait my turn,' he says.

After signing a free agent deal, Elliott attended two minicamps, went through several coaching sessions and drilled with the Chargers. It was enough for him to declare, 'I feel I can play at this level,' but he didn't get enough reps to make an impact.

Some 5,000 people showed up for Charger practices.

'Wow,' Elliott remembers thinking. 'This is a big-time deal.' He says he was 'a little star-struck the first few days, then I settled down and it's the same old football again. Same receivers running the same routes. There's a lot of terminology, and that's the hardest thing to learn.'

Elliott roomed with Charlie Whitehurst, the No. 3 quarterback, a rookie from Clemson.

'We'd come back from practice and study and help each other out, give each other occasional pop quizzes,' Elliott says. 'It was kind of like taking a class.

'The thing I learned that separates great players from average players, and starters and backups, is the knowledge -understanding the offense, knowing where the ball goes and getting it off quickly,' he says. 'Everybody there has talent.'

Philip Rivers has been tabbed the Charger starter, and former Oregon Duck A.J. Feeley is the backup. The one thing that could help Elliott's cause would be the uncertainty of Whitehurst's health. He had shoulder surgery after last season.

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