Berlin invited as honorary captain

Published: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.

Brock Berlin admitted he was surprised when Miami contacted him about serving as honorary captain for today's rivalry game against the Florida Gators.

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Former quarterback Brock Berlin, who transferred from Florida to Miami after 2001, will play the role of honorary captain for the Hurricanes today.

Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer/FILE

“There are so many guys to me that are more worthy of being selected,” Berlin said. “This is a big, traditional rivalry game. With all the guys who have played before me and after me and with me, I'm honored and excited to be part of this weekend.”

But Berlin got the nod, in part because he engineered one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the series. The Florida-turned-Miami quarterback rallied the Hurricanes to a 38-33 win in 2003, leading Miami to four touchdown drives in the game's final 18 minutes.

Miami trailed 33-10 at the Orange Bowl with 3:35 left in the third quarter before Berlin began his magic. Berlin completed 27 of 41 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns, and celebrated the win by doing a Gator chomp toward UF fans in the stands.

“Our team really just rallied together. Offense, defense, special teams came together there in the second half,” Berlin said. “It was just a fun game to be a part of.”

For Berlin, emotions in the game were high. A Gatorade National Player of the Year in 1999, Berlin began his career at Florida and expected to flourish under former UF coach Steve Spurrier. But Berlin was beaten out by Rex Grossman and opted to transfer to UM following the 2001 season.

“I had some great friends and still to this day are my great friends from the Florida side,” Berlin said. “And you know, it was a little different at first. We lined up and my old college roommate was Reid Fleming, and he's the starting middle linebacker. I look him dead in the eye the first play of the game. It's a little different, but once the ball is snapped and the game was on, it was about winning.”

Berlin said he didn't do anything different in the huddle during the comeback.

“You have to stay the same guy,” Berlin said. “You have to believe in each other, believe in the hard work that you put into it and never give up. And I think that was kind of our attitude is don't give up. Let's go win this thing.”

After his Miami career ended, Berlin went on to play overseas in NFL Europe and landed with the St. Louis Rams in 2007.

In one career NFL start for the Rams, Berlin completed 17 of 28 passes for 153 yards with an interception.

Back in his native Shreveport, La., Berlin is married with three children ranging in age from four years to three months old. He currently sells medical devices for Johnson & Johnson.

“It was a dream to play in the NFL a little while,” Berlin said. “To go overseas and play in Europe was a pretty cool experience. … I'm just glad I could follow my dream for as long as I could.”

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