My first training camp in the NFL was tough. Two-a-day practices and a defensive coach who thought I couldn’t do anything right. Every athlete has had the one coach who saw a wrong in every right thing that they did. Larry Coyer was my defensive coordinator, and he had to be 70 years old (or older) at the time.
My roommate for camp was Jacob Lacey. He was out of Oklahoma State and was a baller. In our coaches eyes, we were too cool and too relaxed for his liking. We rarely showed any emotion when it came to work but we worked hard and had a good time doing it. Well at one point, we both thought we were getting cut during camp. Lol.
Things changed for me when Mr. Polian, Hall of Fame GM, told me to follow Reggie Wayne during team drills and one-on-ones in practice. The connection between Reggie and Peyton was unheard of. Reggie didn’t talk much, but he worked harder than anyone else on the field. He and Peyton rarely had incompletions. They were that good. Well I had two picks in practice that day, I got beat a lot that day as well, but Mr. Polian was pleased with what he saw.
We finally get to the first pre-season game and while in warm ups, Mr. Polian informs me that I will start at corner. So I’m super excited and nervous because we were playing the Vikings and Adrian Peterson was in “run everybody over mode.” We break from the team stretch and I started to head towards where the DBs warm up and the veterans, Antoine Bethea specifically, made me warm up with the LBs because I wore #49. It was one of the most embarrassing situations I have ever been in and I couldn’t argue or complain. Lol.
Rookie hazing wasn’t a big deal with the Colts, but they made me do stuff like that to keep me humbled. I changed my number to 25 once the preseason was over and I managed to not get run over by AP. My first NFL game will always be something I’ll remember forever because of how I was told I’d be starting, and how I was forced to warm up with the linebackers because “I didn’t look like a DB.”