Interview: Adversity Is Hamdan’s Middle Name
Posted: May 13 2005
By Scott Hurrey
Going into week four of the NFL – Europe season, Gibran Hamdan led the league in passing touchdowns and boasted an 87.4 quarterback rating. He was a key reason why the Amsterdam Admirals offense led the league in scoring.
With a year with the Admirals already under his belt, Hamdan came into this season with a lot of confidence, and won the starting job in training camp. “It felt really good to me. It was obviously a long process and I felt like I was doing a good job. More so than anything, I felt like it was my team from training camp.”
Then adversity struck the 24-year old signal caller. Early in the second quarter of their 37-24 victory over the Cologne Centurions, the Admirals found themselves on the 1-yard line looking to tie the game at 17. Head Coach Bert Andrus called a quarterback sneak, and the 6’6” 240-pound quarterback drove into the end zone for a touchdown. The score was tied, but it was costly. In the fracas, Hamdan broke his right collarbone, prematurely ending his season.
Now instead of gunning for a World Bowl title, the Indiana grad finds him self on an 8-week hiatus waiting for the bone to heal. “Once that gets done then I will start rehabbing the shoulder and trying to get throwing”, Gibran said. “I’m hoping that I will be ready for training camp. That’s the goal right now.”
Training camp will provide the second-year quarterback with yet another chance to fight through adversity to prove himself. Shortly after Hamdan got hurt, the Seahawks selected David Greene from Georgia in the third round of the draft. With the selection of Greene and the incumbent backup Seneca Wallace still in the picture, Gibran will be facing an uphill battle in camp, but he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m at a point now where as a quarterback I feel like the Seahawks organization believes in me as a player, and they are going to give me every opportunity to compete in training camp. That’s really all I can ask for.” Hamdan added, “I know it’s a numbers game ultimately, but I’m finally developing into the quarterback that I believe I can be and I’m in a situation where I believe the team is going to give me a chance to compete.”
Adversity is nothing new to Hamdan. It’s something he and his family have dealt with all of their lives. Gibran was born in San Diego, CA and shortly there after, they moved back to their native Kuwait. On August 2, 1990 while on vacation in the United States, Iraq invaded Kuwait, forcing the Hamdans to abandon their life and start anew. That experience has shaped the way Hamdan sees adversity.
“It’s something that I can always look back on, not so much from my own standpoint, but from my parents’ standpoint. To see what they had to deal with, and the fact that they had two kids to worry about and raise, I can always look back at that and say, you know that’s more adversity than I’ve ever gone through in my life.”
Gibran’s adversity didn’t end there. Hamdan spent his freshman and sophomore years at North Potomac’s Winston Churchill High School. Gibran’s first sport was baseball, and the baseball coach was also the JV football coach. When Hamdan tried out for football, the coach made it clear that he thought Gibran should concentrate on baseball, and forget about football. After two years in what he felt was a negative atmosphere, he decided to transfer to Bishop O’Connell, a private high school in Arlington, VA.
Hamdan said of the transfer: “I enjoyed the game and I think at a young age you want to enjoy playing games and not have to worry about your career so much, and I wasn’t. My transfer came from that aspect, that I didn’t really like being in the negative atmosphere and going and playing. The fact is, I wasn’t that good at the time, but I don’t think that’s a reason to tell someone they shouldn’t play a sport.”
Shortly before THN interviewed Hamdan, an offensive tackle from Indiana that had played with Gibran, left him a voice mail message, which said: “Gibran, this is exactly what your career has been about the whole time; it’s dealing with adversity and the fact that you are still hanging in there and still going through it.”
That statement rings true to Gibran, and the underlying positive message from that teammate helped him put his latest bouts with adversity in perspective. “I went to Indiana and didn’t start for four years and stuck through it. I went to Washington and did everything I was asked and it didn’t work out, so from a standpoint of adversity being part of my career, it’s something that has happened the whole time. I feel like that’s one of my strengths right now is dealing with that and keeping a positive outlook.”
With that type of attitude, Hamdan will find success in the NFL; it’s only a matter of time.
Scott Hurrey is a Senior Writer for www.theHogs.net. Scott can be contacted via email at JansenFan@theHogs.net.