Chris Weinke, the former Cretin-Derham Hall three-sport star and Heisman Trophy winner, has a starring role in the new season of HBO’s "Hard Knocks."
The sports documentary series inside NFL training camp has teamed up with the Rams as they return to Los Angeles for the first time in 22 years. The franchise’s return to Southern California is just one of many compelling stories following the team this season, including the addition of No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Jared Goff.
Weinke, who is in his second year as the quarterbacks coach, has the responsibility of grooming Goff into the starting quarterback. The St. Paul native understands he and Goff are expected to deliver.
In a heated one-on-one session with Goff during the season premiere, Weinke reminded the rookie that he can’t hide.
“Your expectation is up here. … Everybody is watching you,” Weinke said. “It ought to give you chills. … You are wired to be the starting quarterback of this football team. ... But that doesn’t just happen. It’s up to you. Some people can’t handle it.
“You don’t just say, ‘Hey, I’m No. 16, I’m the starting quarterback.”
Weinke is portrayed with a hard-nosed coaching style throughout the first two episodes, but also likes to jokes around with his players. In one scene, he says quarterbacks are traditionally smart individuals, but pokes fun at Goff for not knowing where the sun rises and sets.
Goff is shown struggling throughout the first episode, but begins to get more comfortable with the more reps he gets. Weinke is often by his side, pushing him to get more comfortable in his new environment. The series airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on HBO
Weinke played seven seasons in the NFL mostly as a backup quarterback for Carolina. The fourth-round draft pick started 15 games as a rookie and won his first NFL game, but didn't win again as the Panthers finished the season 1-15. He was part of Carolina’s 2003 NFC championship team as a backup.
Weinke finished his career in San Francisco and retired after the 2007 season at age 35.
The former Minnesota prep star was also a second-round pick in the 1990 MLB draft and played six seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system. Weinke left behind baseball in 1997 for a scholarship at Florida State under Bobby Bowden and led the program to a national championship in 1999. At age 28, he became the oldest player to win the Heisman Trophy.
Weinke was hired as the Rams quarterbacks coach in February 2015. Though it is his first coaching job since retiring as a player, he spent four years at the IMG Academy in Florida tutoring quarterbacks of all ages from around the country, including Vikings' Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina's Cam Newton and Seattle's Russell Wilson.