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Former quarterback Danny Brannagan joined the Gaels as a guest coach in August

2009 Vanier Cup MVP Danny Brannagan worked closely with quarterback Billy McPhee during training camp.
2009 Vanier Cup MVP Danny Brannagan worked closely with quarterback Billy McPhee during training camp.

Brannagan was back at Queen’s during training camp in August as a guest coach, where he worked closely with Gaels’ starter Billy McPhee.

“I learned more about how to have a professional attitude towards football,” McPhee said. “[Brannagan]’s played at a professional level and that experience is very helpful to share with a young team.”

Brannagan was cut from the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts in June following the team’s training camp.

The Argonauts signed Brannagan in 2010 after the quarterback led the Gaels to a Vanier Cup victory in 2009. His 10,714 career passing yards are the second-most in CIS history.

McPhee said it’s important for current Gaels to remain connected with players from that championship team.

“Being a guy who wasn’t there for the Vanier Cup, it helps to hear what it takes to get to the top,” McPhee said.

Until June, Brannagan was on the team’s practice squad as a third-string quarterback. He saw CFL playing time in the fourth quarter of an Argonauts loss to the Montreal Alouettes in Nov. 2010. He was the first Canadian QB to throw a pass in a regular season game in 14 years.

Brannagan said he hoped to earn the backup quarterback position for his second season with the Argos, but a wrist injury on his throwing arm during training camp hurt his chances.

“I wasn’t able to practice and going into the [preseason], I wasn’t 100 per cent,” he said.

The Burlington-native will start work as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hamilton this fall — a job he put on hold to pursue a pro football career.

Brannagan said he’s thankful for the professional opportunity.

“I think it was a great learning experience,” Brannagan said. “I had some fun, I got to meet a lot of nice people and have some good memories that I’m taking away from it.”

While his professional career may be over, Brannagan said he hopes to keep football in his life.

“I think eventually I’d like to get into coaching at some level,” he said. “Maybe it’s high school, maybe it’s university or maybe it’s just little kids’ football.”

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