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Callahan’s ‘exciting ride’ continues

HOUSTON – Joe Callahan wasn’t supposed to be here.

Professional football wasn’t supposed to be an option after playing at Wesley College, a Division III program in Dover, Del.

It wasn’t supposed to be possible after going undrafted.

And, since it wasn’t considered to be an achievable goal, the 6-foot-1 quarterback considers each phone call from every team a way to extend the dream.

“Every opportunity is a chance to keep playing, keep the dream alive,” he said.

Callahan called his football journey an “exciting ride.”

“I came out of a really small school,” he said. “I had a really small chance of playing professionally. I was at the right place at the right time. I’ve worked with a lot of great quarterbacks. I was able to learn a lot from those guys who have been playing at a high level. I’m just hoping to continue my professional career here in the XFL.”

The latest stop in Callahan’s career is with the Dragons. He joined the team Monday and stepped onto the practice field for the first time Tuesday during a training camp practice at the University of Houston’s indoor facility.

“Today was more of a mental day for me,” said Callahan of his first day on the field. “They had a pretty up-tempo practice, so it made sense for me to take it as more of a mental day, but I’m ready to go. I feel pretty comfortable with what we’re doing here right now. Hopefully those reps will go up the next couple of days.”

Navigating his professional career has required quite a few moves along the way, but when asked about the past few months, Callahan said it has required “a lot of travelling.”

After spending the NFL preseason with Baltimore, Callahan was selected by the Dragons in the XFL draft. However, just before the team’s minicamp in December, Callahan was invited to join Detroit’s practice squad.  

“The Lions called and offered me a practice squad spot,” he said. “I went there for the last five weeks of the season and, after that finished up, they (the Dragons) called me back, asked me to come back for camp and here I am.”

For Callahan, the past few months have revolved around flying and football, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m happy to be here,” he said.

After going undrafted in 2016, Callahan signed with the Packers as a free agent and earned a spot on the 53-man roster that first year. During two stints in Green Bay, Callahan credits Aaron Rodgers with helping him get to this point.

“I was probably with Aaron Rodgers the longest,” he said. “I was just able to watch his approach to the game and how he prepared himself week to week, how he carried himself in the locker room. That was something you could only learn from being around the top guy in an organization, a Hall of Fame-type player.

“I’m always grateful for my time in Green Bay, my opportunity to learn from one of the best.”

Now with the Dragons, Callahan gets to be the new guy in the quarterback room. However, BJ Daniels and Brandon Silvers are helping to make the transition an easy one.

“They’ve been really cool so far,” Callahan said. “I know what it’s like to be in a locker room and then the new guy comes in. They’ve been great just welcoming me. Any questions I’ve had, they’ve been there to answer them.

“It’s always almost a sigh of relief when you have good guys in the quarterback room.”

The odds were stacked against Callahan when he left Wesley. He wasn’t supposed to make it as a professional quarterback. But he didn’t listen to the odds. He found himself in the right situations at the right time and has made the most of each opportunity.

For Callahan, the team names change. The uniforms are different. And he is now a part of a new league.

But, the dream lives on. And, for Callahan, that’s what matters.