The Colt Brennan Story Revealed

Matt Levi chats with Colt Brennan for a 30-minute special to air this week. Photos courtesy Kalaeokamanu Productions

He was once Hawaii’s golden child, destined for greatness. Colt Brennan earned rock star status with his boyish good looks and record-setting performances on the gridiron. Fans regularly waited in long lines to purchase jersey No. 15, or camped at shopping malls just to get his autograph. Hawaii’s Heisman Trophy finalist could do no wrong.

“He had legions of fans, and he took Hawaii to a place where it had never been before,” says longtime private investigator Matt Levi. “He helped put Hawaii on a national stage with his remarkable achievements. But his fame was a two-edged sword, and it came with a price.”

The sword first struck during the 2008 Sugar Bowl, when Brennan was manhandled by a Georgia defense that sacked him eight times and forced three interceptions. The Bulldogs slapped a sharp dose of reality in all of us and proved that Brennan was indeed … human. His storybook career was suddenly hitting unexpected turbulence. Who would have thought it was the start of a series of mis-steps?

Brennan suffered several injuries early in his NFL career, injuries that led to missed opportunities and criticism. While some of the obstacles he encountered were beyond his control, others were self-inflicted. After several failed attempts to crack an NFL roster, analysts of the game labeled him a bust. Brennan was sliding into obscurity.

His troubles would continue off the field as well. In 2010, Brennan was involved in a highly publicized traffic accident on the Big Island. Brennan was the passenger in an SUV driven by his then-girlfriend that hit and critically injured Dr. Theresa Wang.

This past July Brennan was arrested for DUI in Kailua. Hawaii’s beloved quarterback, who was once idolized by thousands of island keiki, was now fighting for more than his reputation; he was fighting for his life.

Colt Brennan

Brennan recently sat down with Levi and agreed to take part in a revealing tell-all interview. Levi, who is also a veteran journalist and has been sharing stories with Hawaii viewers for 40 years, says the 29-year-old Brennan spoke openly about his flaws and failures.

“We talked about his 2010 accident, the DUI arrest, even his problems in Colorado,” says Levi. “He went on television and spoke about things that are very painful to him. That’s difficult for a young man.”

Levi says viewers will hear stories that Brennan has never shared publicly. And although Brennan’s attorney Michael Green, was present during a portion of the interview, Levi says Brennan didn’t shy away from tough questions and understood the importance of being accountable for his decisions and actions.

“I respect that he was willing to talk about his personal struggles, with hope that young people are made aware of the dangers of a fast lifestyle,” says Levi. “Some of his problems were self-induced, and many people have strong opinions about his character, but he admits he’s flawed and knows he let people down.”

Levi’s 30-minute special Matt Levi Investigates: The Colt Brennan Story airs three times this week: Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. on KGMB; Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. on KHNL (following the Thanksgiving Day NFL game), and Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. on KGMB.

With great heroes comes great responsibility. Colt Brennan understands this all too well. Young athletes who are viewed as heroes are often thrust into a role they are simply not prepared for. Some succeed, while others trip and fall. Brennan has fallen several times but continues to get back on his feet. His decision to sit before a camera and publicly share his very private story may be his first real step toward achieving real greatness.