Before kickoff to Sunday’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, a flyover is planned. This one, however, will be quite different than others that have transpired over FirstEnergy Stadium in the past.
Involved in this flyover will be the father of Browns’ punter Jamie Gillan as reported by staff writer Andrew Gribble of clevelandbrowns.com.
Colin Gillan is a squadron leader of the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE Pioneers of the Royal Air Force. Colin is Jamie’s father, and will be in command of a P-8A Poseidon aircraft that is scheduled to preform a pre-game flyover at the conclusion of the game’s National Anthem.
The squadron is based out of Maryland, where the younger Gillan resided before making the final roster of the Browns this year as a rookie punter and holder on all place-kicks.
Jamie was quoted as saying:
“It gets the goosebumps going. I know my granddad and granny get pretty emotional when the low jets come over. RAF has been in our family for years now.”
Because his father is employed in the military, Jamie relocated quite a bit growing up. While in Europe, he hooked onto the sport of rugby as a fly half and at one point was on the quest to represent Scotland on the national team. But fate intervened.
Colin had a desk job in London but yearned to be back in the cockpit. An opportunity arose for him to transfer to the United States and become the Deputy Operational Test Director for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft in the State of Maryland. Another new assignment, and yet another move.
“I really enjoyed it. I’m thankful for my dad serving his country, our country,” Jamie said. “I had to get used to it from a young age and making new friends, but I thought it was great. It made me cultured and I got pretty good at making friends fast. It’s been a fun life because of it. I wouldn’t be standing here right now with you if he didn’t take a job in America.”
It was in Maryland that Jamie was introduced to American football and for only half of his senior year he became the team’s kicker and punter. It was here that he earned the nickname the “Scottish Hammer.” Shortly thereafter, he was playing college football for the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff where for four years he was their kicker, punter and kickoff specialist.
Which must have been difficult for a rugby player who saw action constantly and now was regulated to coming into the game only when needed. Colin had these insights:
“I used to feel sorry for him. There was probably a lot more he could have done, more positions he could have tried. As time went on, he saw how well he was doing. We realized if it didn’t work, he could always go back to (rugby). He basically put all his eggs in the basket and that’s where he is now.”
And then he was invited to attend Cleveland Browns training camp as camp fodder for veteran punter Britton Colquitt who had been an AFC Pro Bowl alternate the season before. After a fierce competition, Jamie was named the starter. Now Colin will become a part of his son’s new career and mentioned this:
“We’re really excited about it to be taking the squadron across FirstEnergy Stadium with Jamie down there. It will be fantastic. We’re really looking forward to it and the rest of the crew is excited as well. It’s going to be an incredible game.”
Maybe Jamie will finally have one address to call his permanent home.