He could have simply told the Bills, 'No.' A month after being waived by Buffalo because there was a more attractive quarterback prospect to be signed in Brian Brohm, Gibran Hamdan got a call from the same organization that had employed him for the better part of three NFL seasons. Injuries to the Bills' top two quarterbacks left Buffalo in need of him.
Hamdan was the only viable quarterback available that knew Buffalo's offense inside and out. The shoe was on the other foot. Hamdan had the upper hand. But the seven-year career backup ultimately chose humility over a snub.
"It wasn't an easy decision for me by any means, but I think the prevalent things were you have to humble yourself and I've been through a lot of experiences that are way more humbling than this one," said Hamdan, who will serve as the backup to the man that took his roster spot in Brian Brohm. "It's tough because you think about that kind of stuff, but you also think about your teammates, you think about your coaches, and I've never gotten a chance to play in the NFL. That's a fact, and I really believe that if I were to get a chance that I would do pretty well. So it would be foolish of me to pass up the opportunity to maybe have a shot to play, even if it's an emergency quarterback role, which is what I've been brought in for."
It has been anything but an easy week for Hamdan. Serving as the team's third quarterback the past two seasons it's hard for him not to feel like today's game against the Falcons was supposed to be his opportunity to get his first NFL start. Instead it will be going to Brian Brohm, a former second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers who has spent all of five weeks with the club.
And Hamdan will have to watch every moment of it in person and help Brohm through it in between series on the sidelines.
"I'm the emergency quarterback, Brian (Brohm) is the starter, obviously it's a special thing for Brian that he's getting his first career start. I know because it's something I've dreamt about my entire career. So my job is to do as well as I can to be prepared to play and I think it's just like any other backup quarterback. Chances are it depends on how healthy he stays."
For Hamdan playing second fiddle to high draft choices is nothing new. After seven years in the league he's come to understand how the pecking order works and realizes a player cannot take it personally.
"I think early in my career it was very difficult," said Hamdan, a former seventh-round pick. "I went through a similar situation in Seattle with David Greene. He was drafted high and it was not a consensus decision among the organization, but this time around it wasn't hard. You understand the dynamics of the game, no one faults them for it, and there are no hard feelings. If you have too much ill-will and too much pride in this game, especially a person that's in my position that's been scratching and clawing their entire career, you're not going to make it very long. I just try to be a good teammate, try to do things the right way, and obviously the opportunity to play is better when you're not sitting on a couch in Minnesota and you're actually on a sideline with a jersey on."
His retention of the Bills offense is intact. After repping Buffalo's system for almost three seasons with nothing else in between it has been etched into Hamdan's memory. Also etched there is the dream of taking the field in a regular season game, something that now still has a chance to happen.
"I felt pretty good about knowing what was going on out there and it obviously helps and I think that adds some credibility to why I was brought back and not somebody else," he said. "I feel like I still have a good grasp here of what's going on. Obviously I've built a relationship with guys here on the team and if it were to come to that I feel like I would do a good job."