Shaw Strives For NFL Success
Having won a World Bowl Title in NFL Europa and an Arena Bowl Championship in the Arena Football League, Bryant Shaw has seen success at just about every level of football. But he has not been as lucky in the National Football League. Only brief stints with the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, and now the Washington Redskins make up his current NFL resume.
Shaw was allocated to NFL Europa by the Redskins after signing with the team in January and is currently enjoying his second stint as a member of the Berlin Thunder. As of Week 8, Shaw has 10 tackles, one sack, and three passes defended.
At 28 years of age, Shaw is in his third season in NFL Europa but still enjoys the experience of playing overseas. “It’s a chance to work on skills necessary to be successful in the NFL,” Shaw said.
Shaw’s time in NFL Europa will only be beneficial for him and the Redskins as well, considering one of the team’s most pressing needs is on the defensive line.
Prior to attending Division III Mississippi College, Shaw was a track star and basketball player at Ocean Springs High School. So just how does a track star transform into a 315-pound defensive lineman, you ask?
“I was about 215 pounds in high school, and when I broke my leg my senior year, I gained 15 pounds. I reported to college and they put me at defensive end my freshman year. I worked hard in the weight room to gain weight, ate a whole lot and that pretty much did it,” said Shaw.
Shaw saw plenty of success on the defensive line at Mississippi College. His 38 tackles, four sacks, and two forced fumbles in 10 games in 1998 earned him first team All-Conference honors. He followed up on his successful junior season by taking home the 1999 American Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year awards as a senior.
After signing with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2000, Shaw was allocated to NFL Europa and logged 15 tackles, four sacks, and defended three passes as a member of the Scottish Claymores. He returned to Europe in 2002 as a member of the Berlin Thunder, helping them win World Bowl X.
Shaw ventured into the Arena Football League in 2001, joining the Grand Rapids Rampage. He was then traded to the expansion franchise Colorado Crush in 2003 for the rights to the 11th and 12th picks in the AFL Expansion Draft. The trade reunited Shaw with Crush special teams coordinator Lee Johnson, who was his defensive line coach while in Berlin. Shaw started all 16 regular season games and three playoff games for the Crush in 2005 en route to winning Arena Bowl XIX.
Shaw returned to Grand Rapids after his Championship victory but was released five months later. Just two days following his release, Shaw returned to the NFL and signed with the Detroit Lions in April 2006. He was cut prior to the preseason.
Success in the AFL and NFL Europa boosted his morale but that’s not enough for the experienced football veteran.
Shaw's ultimate goal? "To win a Super Bowl."
The first step in achieving that goal will be catching on with an NFL team. Given the lack of depth on Washington's defensive line, he'll get a good opportunity with the Redskins when he returns from Europe.
- Jake Russell
This article was released on 2007-06-05.
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