Rookie Vick Ballard admits that he’s a little uneasy about all the attention Sunday’s LP Field leap into the end zone is garnering among Indianapolis Colts fans and the team’s media.
Don’t get Ballard wrong. The first-year running back from Mississippi State appreciates all the comments and good wishes that’ve been coming his way after scoring the game-winning touchdown against AFC South rival Tennessee.
But it’s just not his nature to brag about himself. Ballard doesn’t have much of an ego. He’s a team guy first and foremost, so he would rather talk about how the Colts’ 19-13 victory effects everybody else.
“Special people do special things,” he responded Monday after being asked to describe his backwards somersault on the final play of Sunday’s game. After realizing what he had said, Ballard quickly corrected himself.
“I’m not saying I’m special. But if the time is right, [somebody has to] do something special. So I did.”
In discussing the play, Ballard said that he knew that he wouldn’t be able to reach the end zone unless he attempted the airborne move. He’s had experience with similar situations while in college.
“It wasn’t my first time doing it but it was my first time scoring a touchdown. My first time doing it was actually my junior year against Arkansas in overtime. I ended up fumbling the ball through the end zone and lost the game,” he recalled.
“Then last year I did it and went out at the inch-yard line. This year for me to actually score in my rookie year, in overtime, to win the first game on the road since 2010, it was real big for me.”
As for his LP Field leap, Ballard said that he made a split-second decision to try it again.
“I knew I couldn’t make it there by just running in. So that was my last option, to jump. I knew I couldn’t jump straight because I would have been knocked out of bounds. I didn’t try to flip [backwards]. I just tried to turn sideways. Somehow I ended up on my back. But it all worked out,” he recalled, adding that he didn’t know that he had scored.
“I wasn’t sure at all. I just hopped up and threw my hands up. I saw the referee come up and he threw his hands up too. He said touchdown, so it was a touchdown.”
It wasn’t too long after the game ended that his cell phone started buzzing.
“My phone is vibrating in my pocket right now. It was on [ESPN’s] Top 10 [plays Sunday night]. I’m not sure what number it was, but people have been calling me and texting me. All kinds of stuff,” Ballard said. “It all comes with the job description. You got to do media. Any exposure is good, so I’m happy for it.”
Special guest at game — Ballard’s father picked the right game to watch his son play in the National Football League for the first time.
“It was special for me because he wanted to come to my first start but it was in New York so he wasn’t able to make it,” he said. “Then [the] last game against the Browns, he couldn’t make that game either. He said he wasn’t going to miss this one. It was better because he saw my first [NFL] touchdown.”
Young team coming together — While interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is happy with the win over the Titans, he would like to see the team develop quicker than it has.
“I think we are behind schedule,” he voiced. “We gave one game away that we should have had in our pocket [a 22-17 late-game home loss to Jacksonville],” he said after the Tennessee game. “We are just starting to scratch the surface of how good we can become if we all believe it. I think we’ll show up at practice Wednesday with a lot of enthusiasm.”
Defensive end Cory Redding said that the Colts are beginning to play with a chip on the shoulders.
“If we were to believe all of the writers and all of the naysayers, we would be 0-5 or 0-7 right now. Nobody picked us to win [the Titans] game. But we don’t give a crap about none of that. The men in this locker room are going to fight every week,” Redding said.
“We are going to go out there and play great team ball. [The win over the Titans] showed the heart of this team. I am very proud of my teammates.”
He added that Indianapolis is capable of pulling a few more surprises.
“Every week is crucial. We have to win whether we are at home or on the road. You have to stack wins in this league to be the team that you want to be in January. And we have to learn how to win on the road. No one said that it was going to be pretty.”
Inside linebacker Pat Angerer agrees.
“We’ve gotten four more wins than everyone thought we would have, so that’s good,” Angerer said. “We always knew that we could be a good football team. We are getting there. We are still not there yet. But with a little improvement there and there, we can be alright.”
Pagano visits coaches Monday — Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, who has been undergoing treatments for leukemia since Sept. 26, made an unexpected visit to the team’s headquarters Monday.
“Probably shouldn’t tell you, but Chuck was in our staff meeting today. He had a great visit with his doctors and his counts were way up. He was feeling good, so he stopped in and was able to sit in the office with his staff and listen to everybody’s comments about the game,” Arians said.
“I think it was great medicine for him. He’s doing extremely well and with his white [cell] count going up now that he’s ready for a second round of chemo next week. They’ll hit him pretty good next week and hopefully he’ll be able to be around a little bit more.”
Injury list — There were no updates on the status of cornerback Vontae Davis (knee) and rookie tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder). Both were hurt Sunday at Tennessee.
“We’re still waiting for word on Coby Fleener’s shoulder and the MRI coming back on Vontae’s knee. We’ll know more on Wednesday on both those guys. Those guys were the only new additions [to the team’s list of injured players],” Arians said.
“[Defensive tackle] Fili [Moala] and [outside linebacker] Robert [Mathis] hopefully will practice Wednesday. We look forward to having them back out there. [Cornerback] Darius Butler has a chance of [playing Sunday against Miami], so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that he’s able to go as the week progresses also.”
Moala and Mathis are both recovering from knee injuries. Butler has been nursing a sore shoulder.
Colts rookie running back Ballard shrugs off attention after dynamic, game-winning play
Rookie Vick Ballard admits that he’s a little uneasy about all the attention Sunday’s LP Field leap into the end zone is garnering among Indianapolis Colts fans and the team’s media.
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Werner, 36 others open Colts’ mini camp
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Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Werner at top of game
Bjoern Werner was a late comer to football. But after being selected in the first round of the 2013 National Football League draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Werner realizes that he has reached the pinnacle of the sport in a relatively short amount of time.
Colts select pass rusher Werner in first round
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Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
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Colts veteran among those excited to see Luck's growth in 2013-14
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Redding, who has become one of the Colts’ lockerroom leaders after just one season with the team, thinks he has some reasonable expectations of Indianapolis’ former No. 1 draft pick.
Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
Colts sign nose tackle
Another day, more player signings for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
With the possible exception of adding a few lesser-priced players, the Indianapolis Colts’ big-time foray into the veteran free-agent marketplace is pretty much done.
Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
After adding five veteran free agent players to the Indianapolis Colts roster on Tuesday, general manager Ryan Grigson plucked two more plums late Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Colts sign five free agents, filling needs at offensive line, cornerback
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Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
An Indianapolis Colt for life. Pencil in Jeff Saturday for that honor.
The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
The 14-year veteran center in the National Football League put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in-between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — that Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
Former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday will make his retirement from the National Football League official on Thursday.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts GM enjoying time at combine
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Colts keeping eye on large crop of talented linemen in NFL Draft
According to most National Football League draft observers, this year’s crop of prospects is deep with quality offensive and defensive linemen.
Among the offensive line candidates who have been showcasing their talents at the National Football Scouting Combine, which began in earnest Thursday and wraps up on Tuesday, the spotlight has been on the offensive tackles. Offensive left tackles in particular.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection. While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.
The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
Former Pro Bowl selection Freeney won't return to Colts
The news coming out of the Indianapolis Colts headquarters Friday afternoon was not totally unexpected. Team officials have confirmed that two veteran players – former Pro Bowl defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie — will not be returning for the 2013 season.
Colts’ new offensive coordinator will offer variety
Quarterback Andrew Luck running the Pistol offense? Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton lining up in the Wildcat?
Colts moving on to the off season
Moving on. That’s the immediate plans for the Indianapolis Colts as they head into the off season.
Baltimore ends Indy’s playoff run early
The Baltimore Ravens want one long final ride for Ray Lewis. Having disposed of Andrew Luck and the Colts, they now face a more imposing challenge.
Next up, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Switching sides: Colts-Ravens matchup includes old friends on new teams
Just as Baltimore Ravens players and coaches will be seeing some old friends returning to M&T Bank Stadium today, several Indianapolis Colts veterans will also have an opportunity to renew acquaintances with a familiar face.
Pagano prepares Colts for tough crowd in Baltimore
As a former resident of Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows all about the hard feelings that still run strong about the move of the Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
Pagano marvels at Colt’s progress
In the minutes after last Sunday’s win over AFC South champion Houston, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano marveled at how the 2012 season has progressed for his team.
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