This time last year, Gibran Hamdan was at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis introducing himself to pro coaches and scouts--even though he had not been invited to participate in the daily workouts.
Now, after a season in which he started on the Redskins' practice squad and finished playing in the final moments of the finale against Philadelphia, Hamdan is headed for Amsterdam to play in NFL Europe.
The Redskins' seventh-round draft pick hopes to follow in the footsteps of NFL quarterbacks like Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme and Brad Johnson, all of whom played in NFL Europe and would later go on to play in the Super Bowl.
"I think NFL Europe is a great steppingstone to a good career in the NFL," Hamdan said. "I've always looked at it like that, but I don't necessarily think that my playing career might take the same path [as Warner, Delhomme and Johnson]. You never know. I just continue to work hard and hopefully someday I can get the opportunity in the NFL to show what I can do."
Hamdan will join his Admirals teammates in Tampa, Fla. next week for NFL Europe training camp.
"I'm very excited," he said. "It's going to be a great opportunity to go over there, get a chance to play, get some experience under my belt and hopefully prove that I can be a NFL quarterback. And to experience it in a European country, a country I've never been to before-it'll be really exciting."
Hamdan spent four games as the Redskins No. 2 passer in 2003. When Patrick Ramsey was sidelined for the season with a foot injury, Tim Hasselbeck (who played for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder in 2002) was elevated to the starting position. Hamdan was signed from the practice squad as Hasselbeck's backup.
Hamdan was put in the lineup late in the fourth quarter during the Redskins' 31-7 season-ending loss to the Eagles. He was 1-of-2 for seven yards and was sacked once.
In Amsterdam, he is expected to compete with a pair of NFL Europe veterans in Clint Steoerner and David Priestley.
Stoerner (allocated by the Miami Dolphins) played for the Scottish Claymores in 2001 and passed for 1,866 yards and 10 touchdowns. Priestley (allocated by the Seattle Seahawks) played for the Admirals last year and passed for 326 yards and four touchdowns.
Hamdan, who has been a regular presence at Redskins Park in recent weeks as he prepares for the NFL Europe season, said he hopes to continue his development as a quarterback while helping Amsterdam win games.
"You have to go over there to compete to earn playing time and prove to the coaches that you can be a good player for them," he said. "And then you have to think about how you're going to develop and get yourself prepared for the upcoming NFL season.
"More than anything, I want to go over there and compete-try to win a championship. It's another opportunity as an athlete to be on a team and try to go after a goal, which would be to win the World Bowl."