The Colorado football team returned to the practice fields after spring break Monday missing one of the McCartney brothers.

T.C. McCartney has been hired by the Cleveland Browns to fill a quality control role for first-year coach Mike Pettine. McCartney spent two seasons on the CU coaching staff as an offensive graduate assistant who helped coach the quarterbacks.

T.C. McCartney's half-brother, Derek McCartney, is a redshirt freshman defensive end on the team who has caught the attention of coach Mike MacIntyre this spring. The McCartney brothers are the grandsons of former CU coach Bill McCartney.

"I'll miss him," Derek McCartney said. "It was really nice having him here for my first year-and-a-half. So I'm going to miss him, but I'm really proud of him, too, because his hard work paid off."

Redshirt freshman Derek McCartney has had the best spring among the Buffs’ defense ends according to coach Mike MacIntyre.
Redshirt freshman Derek McCartney has had the best spring among the Buffs' defense ends according to coach Mike MacIntyre. (CLIFF GRASSMICK / Daily Camera)

The McCartneys spent 18 months with the same team for the first time in their lives. They were fives years apart throughout school and never played on the same teams growing up.

Derek McCartney said his older brother constantly encouraged him in their time together with the Buffs. Derek McCartney signed with the program in 2012 but greyshirted that fall and redshirted last season. The last time he played in a football game was in November of 2011 at Faith Christian High School.

"Honestly, that was like the best thing I could have done for myself, academically and physically," McCartney said. "It was really great that I was able to do that. So I came in (to spring) really excited and I'm really excited or the upcoming season."


McCartney is practicing at right defensive end this spring. It's a spot manned primarily by former Buff Chidera Uzo-Diribe over the past three years. Uzo-Diribe started all 12 games at right defensive end last year and led the team with four sacks and seven total tackles for loss.

"He's had the best spring at defensive ends," MacIntyre said of McCartney. "Him and Tyler Hennington have done some good things this spring. We were hoping that Derek would come on and he's gotten quicker and stronger. He greyshirted so he's just going to be a freshman, which is exciting for us."

With an older brother like T.C. and his grandfather always there to continue the coaching process off the field, Derek McCartney isn't one to allow small successes to go to his head. He's happy MacIntyre has singled him out for praise multiple times in the first half of spring ball, but he has bigger goals in mind.

"I feel like I've got a long way to go," Derek McCartney said. " I feel like I've done a few good things and that's all well and good, but I'm not particularly satisfied. I definitely got to keep working."

Contact Writer Kyle Ringo at or on Twitter: @kyleringo.