Columns

Even With a Failed NFL Career, Brad Kaaya Made the Right Decision to Leave Miami

Brad Kaaya (center)
Brad Kaaya (center) Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
This past Friday, the Indianapolis Colts became the third NFL team to pass on the services of former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya. Since being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, little has been heard from Kaaya. At one point, he was expected to be a sure-fire first-round draft pick who would one day step in and have a go at winning a Super Bowl. So far, that's been anything but the case.

The latest professional setback for Kaaya, who opted to leave the Hurricanes a year early to pursue his professional career, has a lot of Miami fans telling the Canes' all-time leader in passing yards "I told you so" in regards to the decision. The common narrative is that he made a monumental mistake by leaving Miami just as coach Mark Richt was coming in. Most observers believe Kaaya would have been better off sticking around for his senior season.

Those people are wrong. Kaaya made the right decision to move on to the NFL, results be damned.

Kaaya had nothing left to prove in college. He was what he was. In only three seasons, he broke nearly every record a QB could set in at the University of Miami. He endured a massive number of hits and an absurd number of losses at UM, and for what? A forgotten career that will live on only until the next young Canes quarterback erases all of Kaaya's records.


A year under Richt wouldn't have made Kaaya's arm stronger or helped him gain any weight or muscle. In fact, in the NFL, where there is no school to worry about, Kaaya had a much better chance to work on those shortcomings. Nothing Richt could have done for Kaaya would have changed the results he's had in the NFL. If Richt is such an instant difference-maker when it comes to quarterbacks, Malik Rosier wouldn't have been the team's weak link last season.

Kaaya has earned about a half-million dollars in the NFL. That's more money than most college graduates his age could hope to make in ten years — not two years of holding a clipboard in the NFL. Kaaya will always have his UM degree to fall back on. He can go back to school anytime he wants — but instead of drowning in college-loan debt, he'll be able to comfortably pursue his next career.

You can stop feeling bad for Brad Kaaya now. He skipped a season of playing football for free for a bunch of fans who only want him to regret his decision because they wanted him to play for their football team.

Instead of wasting another year in a corrupt and flawed NCAA system, he turned pro and got paid. No one should point and make fun of him for betting on himself. No one should second-guess his decision, because it was his decision.

And most of all, no one should feel bad for Kaaya. He's done just fine thus far, and there's no reason to think that trend won't continue. 
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi