Justin Houston Jersey

Justin Houston was once one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL. But Houston’s production no longer matched the $15.25 million price tag the Kansas City Chiefs were set to owe him in 2019. And when the dollars don’t match, it often means a player restructures his contract or he gets traded or released. For Houston, it was the latter.

Houston is still a productive player, tallying 9.0 sacks in his 12 starts in the 2018 season. As he can surely help lots of teams, here are three that should consider signing the four-time Pro Bowler now that he’s a free agent.

New England struggled when it came to rushing the passer during the 2018 regular season, but the pass rush really came on in the postseason. Unfortunately, New England’s best defensive lineman, Trey Flowers, might walk in free agency. Signing a veteran sack artist like Houston is a vintage Bill Belichick move, as the aging linebacker is a low-risk, high-upside player at this point in his career.

The Seattle Seahawks are a league average team when it comes to getting to the quarterback, tallying just 42.0 sacks last season. Signing Houston would help give this team a boost on the edge without investing too much money. The Seahawks need to get after the quarterback, as they’ll face dynamic passers like Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff in a quarter of their games next season.

The Indianapolis Colts are quietly putting together one of the best young rosters in the NFL, but their defense still needs some work. Indianapolis could use a pass rusher, and signing Houston could help take this team to the next level when it comes to competing for a Super Bowl. Houston would fit in well as a rotational player, a la former Colt and future Hall of Famer Dwight Freeney, and could really help take some pressure off Darius Leonard, who tallied 111 tackles and seven sacks last season.

Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

Coming off of ACL surgery in February, defensive end Justin Houston’s 2016 status is now in doubt, and his absence would severely impair the Kansas City Chiefs’ title hopes.

Which Kansas City lineman would have to step up in Houston’s place? Could the Chiefs replace Houston through free agency or the NFL draft? Are the Chiefs a playoff team without their star pass-rusher?

Watch Stephen Nelson and Bleacher Report NFL Analyst Chris Simms discuss Houston in the video above.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts dabbled, waited, watched as the initial wave of free agency rose to a crescendo of ballooning contracts and then crashed, most of the big fish already plucked from the water.

But a massive catch was still in the water, there for the taking a week after the opening of free agency, and Chris Ballard finally saw the right opportunity to make the splash everybody’s been expecting.

Indianapolis has signed Kansas City Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston to a two-year, $24 million contract, multiple sources told IndyStar, a win-win deal that lands the Colts arguably the best available player at their position of greatest need.

Houston, 30, is a bona fide edge rusher who has racked up 78.5 sacks in eight seasons but was released by the Kansas City Chiefs for salary-cap reasons.

A four-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL with 22 sacks in 2014, Houston has battled injuries in the four years since then, but he’s as productive as he’s ever been when he’s on the field. Over the past four seasons, Houston has 30 sacks in 43 games, including 18.5 over the past two years.

And he plays a position that Ballard has ticketed all season as a must. Always a 3-4 outside linebacker in Kansas City, Houston will play defensive end for the Colts, a transition that should be fairly easy given that the Chiefs often rushed out of a four-man front in nickel situations.

A four-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL with 22 sacks in 2014, Houston has battled injuries in the four years since then, but he’s as productive as he’s ever been when he’s on the field. Over the past four seasons, Houston has 30 sacks in 43 games, including 18.5 over the past two years.

“I have plenty left in the tank,” Houston said. “I think some people don’t believe that.”

Ballard was in the Kansas City front office prior to taking over in Indianapolis and that connection contributed to Houston landing with the Colts.

“Just knowing he was somebody I could trust,” Houston said. “I got an honest answer (from him).”

And he plays a position that Ballard has ticketed all season as a must. Always a 3-4 outside linebacker in Kansas City, Houston will play defensive end for the Colts, a transition that should be fairly easy given that the Chiefs often rushed out of a four-man front in nickel situations. Houston said he had not concerns about switching schemes.

INDIANAPOLIS (KCTV) – The Kansas City Chiefs made headlines with their play on the field this season, but it is the team’s off-the-field moves that has people talking at the NFL combine.

Multiple reports out of Indianapolis say that Chiefs officials have been meeting with teams to discuss possible trades involving linebacker Justin Houston.

Jason La Canfora with CBS Sports first reported the developments, followed by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapport, who said teams had been calling with “real interest” for the pass-rusher.

An eight-year veteran of the NFL, Houston racked up 28 tackles and 9 sacks in the 2018 season for Kansas City. He has been named to the Pro Bowl four times and led the league in sacks in 2014 with 22, just half a sack from the league record.

Head coach Andy Reid did not mention any developments with Houston when he spoke with KCTV5 Wednesday at the NFL Combine.
General manager Brett Veatch is also in Indianapolis, and KCTV5 will be asking him about Houston’s future with the Chiefs Thursday.

The Chiefs have released edge-rusher Justin Houston, the club announced Sunday. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said in a statement:

Kansas City had been attempting to trade Houston, but no club was willing to take on his $15.25M base salary. By cutting Houston, the Chiefs will retain $7.1M in dead money but will also create $14M in cap space. That latter figure is critical for Kansas City, as the team had less than $10M in cap space before moving from Houston.

In addition to trying to move Houston, the Chiefs are also rumored to have put fellow pass-rusher Dee Ford on the trade block. Ford was designated as Kansas City’s franchise player and will earn north of $17M in 2019, and the Chiefs are reportedly searching for a second-round pick in exchange. However, it’s possible Kansas City will be more amenable to retaining Ford now that Houston is out of the picture.

Houston led the NFL with 22 sacks in 2015, but injuries have since taken a toll on his availability. Now entering his age-30 campaign, Houston can still be an effective player, as evidenced by his 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Pro Football Focus graded him as the NFL’s 14th-best edge defender last year, and he should have a solid market given that most of this offseason’s best pass-rushers were taken off the market via the franchise tag.

Anthony Castonzo Jersey

The Indianapolis Colts fought their way to a playoff berth in 2018 large in part due to the spectacular turn around of the offensive line. Despite being the veteran leader of the bunch, left tackle Anthony Castonzo wasn’t talked about much.

Castonzo, who missed the first five games due to a nagging hamstring injury, return in Week 6 against the Jets. His presence helped solidify the Colts offensive line en route to the unit allowing the fewest sacks in the NFL.

Still, the veteran left tackle was rarely talked about this season. Despite some inconsistencies throughout the season, Castonzo’s 2018 campaign was one of his finest both in run-blocking and pass protection.

Here, we dive into some of the strengths and weaknesses Castonzo showed in his eighth season with the former showing up on a consistent basis:

One common aspect Castonzo showed as a strength was his ability to match power from defenders, specifically a bull rush.
Below, in his first game of the season, Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland tries to go speed to power on Castonzo with a bull rush. Castonzo shows great footwork with a fluid kick step, and his quick punch allows him to win with inside leverage on initial contact. Though he’s pushed back a bit, a strong base along with his hands inside allows him to win the snap.

The next clip comes against the Jaguars in Week 14. Edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue tries a bull rush on Castonzo. Ngakoue actually gets inside, but the left tackle neutralizes it with a strong base while keeping his feet moving to re-establish leverage. By the time Ngakoue reverts to a swim move, it’s too late.

Castonzo’s strength constantly allows him to recover even if he’s beat on initial contact by a defender.

An example of that below came against Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston in the AFC divisional round. Houston wins initial contact getting inside and driving Castonzo back, but the latter’s base is strong enough to help him recover, which gives Andrew Luck enough time to get the throw off on third down. Tight end Eric Ebron wound up dropping the pass.

Tying into the aspect of strength working for Castonzo in pass protection, his ability to anchor down and control a defender showed up every week.

Below, the Bills blitz six with the Colts in 11 personnel. Lined up across from Eddie Yarbrough, Castonzo’s quick get-off allows him to beat the edge rusher to the spot. Once Castonzo has established leverage at the point of attack, his strong anchor allows him to control Yarbrough’s attempt at a rip move.

The play-action helped give Castonzo a split-second head start, but he barely loses any ground thanks to a strong anchor and sound technique.

Another example comes against veteran and Bills best pass rusher Jerry Hughes below. Castonzo actually gets beat inside for a second, but a strong anchor still allows him to control Hughes’ momentum while guiding him to the ground.

Castonzo’s strong lower half and strong punch buys him enough time to let Luck find Mack as checkdown for a 29-yard touchdown.

While Castonzo showed off his strength all season, he also made an impact working off of combo blocks with left guard Quenton Nelson.

In the following clip against the Raiders, Castonzo and Nelson perform a “Queen” block on Kony Ealy. After selling a zone look to begin, Castonzo and Nelson come back to the double team after the linebacker level stays the same. Castonzo then identifies his second-level target in play-side linebacker Marquel Lee.

Once Nelson established leverage, Castonzo climbs to the second level to engage Lee. Though he couldn’t keep Lee engaged on the block, Castonzo’s work help extended the 14-yard run.

Another combo block with Nelson below, Castonzo gets help turning P.J. Hall upfield on the combo in a flawless example of working shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip. Castonzo maintains leverage on the defensive tackle and continues driving until he’s is out of the play.

Castonzo also worked well picking up stunts. In the Week 17 game against the Titans, who are running man-free coverage with a six-man blitz below, the veteran gets leverage on his initial block of a slanting defensive lineman and then quickly picks up the stunting linebacker to help keep Luck clean en route to an 18-yard pick up to Hilton on the crosser on third down.

Now onto the facets of the game where Castonzo struggled most. The biggest recurring theme with Castonzo was handling the speed rush.

Below, the Raiders are running Cover 0 with a double A-gap blitz. Castonzo has a solid get-off, but Bruce Irvin beats him with nice footwork and speed while running the arc. Irvin turns his shoulders as he gets upfield to give Castonzo a harder target to punch, which works perfectly for the edge rusher.

It wasn’t the main pressure on the play, but it is a common example of how he gets beat.

Another speed rush below, Ngakoue gets first contact inside and turns his shoulders to neutralize Castonzo’s length as the latter fails to land a disrupting punch. This play was called back due to defensive holding but it’s just another example that Castonzo can get beaten with speed.

Something else Castonzo struggled with at times was simply playing too upright. Below, Yarbrough is chipped by Ebron at the line, which gives Castonzo plenty of time to get to his spot.

While he got there, Castonzo was far too upright at contact as Yarbrough kept his pad level low giving him all of the leverage. Castonzo can’t recover, and it leads to the defender forcing Luck to rush a throw that should have been made.

Luck probably could have climbed the pocket a bit, but the pressure from the edge disrupted the throw.

Castonzo also struggled with it when run blocking at times. It wasn’t an issue most of the time, but it did happen on several occasions. On the RPO outside zone run below, Castonzo loses initial contact allowing Ealy to control inside leverage, which happened in part due to his upper body being so upright at contact.

He can’t keep the edge engaged as his man makes the tackle for a short gain.

You know what scene has become all too redundant in football? When you hear about some high school recruit who is crashing the server over at rivals.com because he supposedly runs a 4.20 40. In case you haven’t noticed, no one runs a 4.20 40 at the NFL combine, which to my knowledge is the only place where it is credibly timed.

So therefore, nobody runs a 4.20—not Deion, not Chris Johnson and definitely not some high school senior chasing jackrabbits in the deep South. In the end, it’s all a run-around to make sure he gets signed by a big-time D-I school. Very few people do it the hard way anymore; and when it happens, it feels good to be a gangsta. Just ask Anthony Castonzo.

If you want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I’ll give it to you, but I can’t do it on the Internet for Anthony’s sake. I mean, he’s a certifiable professional athlete now. But what I will tell you is that Anthony Castonzo doesn’t necessarily fit the description of your prototypical NFL draft prospect.

For starters, Castonzo’s high-school football career was a far cry from that of the record-shattering blue chips that he will soon be sharing a union with. Truth be told, in his days at Lake Zurich High School, AC probably had more metal in the brace keeping his surgically-repaired knee in place (he sat out his entire sophomore year with a serious knee injury) than he did decorating his bedroom mantle in the form of trophies.

As an underclassman, he was big. And slow. As an upperclassman he was bigger, and although he could now fend off the process of erosion in a foot race, he still wasn’t necessarily fast.

In other words, if you saw him wearing a Don Beebe’s House of Speed t-shirt, you would have thought he bought it at the Salvation Army—that’s about the best way I can describe it. So when his high school career concluded and Les Miles wasn’t on the Castonzo’s doorstep off of Midlothian Rd. in Lake Zurich like some bizarro scene from the Blind Side, Anthony took matters into his own hands.

Forgoing countless academic scholarships to widely respected universities across the country, he decided to attend Fork Union, which sounds more like a restaurant inside Ogilvie Transportation Center than a Military Institute in Virginia, but that’s exactly what it was.

After dressing like a G.I. Joe and making his bed like G.I. Jane for an entire school year, Castonzo had finally blossomed into a legitimate D-I football recruit, and a good one at that. Virginia Tech called, Duke wrote and Boston College offered. Now it was like a scene from the Blind Side. Minus the whole adoption, overcoming illiteracy sub-plot.

The only difference of course was his ACT score (36), and his aspirations to pursue the field of biochemistry. He had the football prowess of the Icebox with the academic aptitude of the kid that was drawing up the “Annexation of Puerto Rico” in a double-breast-pocketed plaid. How could he lose?
He didn’t. In two short years he went from receiving the same amount of attention from high school females as yours truly (none) to shaking up protein with Matty Ice and likely being surrounded by adoring Irish-Catholic girls in Beantown. He became the first true freshman to start on the O-line for BC in 10 years and eventually became a First-Team All-ACC left tackle. Even more impressive though, he was named to the Playboy Preseason All-America team as a senior.

Now I never thought Anthony Castonzo was going to be the first pro athlete in the history of Lake Zurich High School, or even fathomed that a kid with worse facial hair than Orlando Bloom would ever make it into Playboy, but he has defied odds.

Of course, when you’re proving people wrong it always helps to be blessed with a 6’7”, 285 lb. frame, but that doesn’t diminish what Anthony has accomplished at all. He finds himself as the first-round choice of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2011 NFL draft, and if labor unions lock him out, he can fall back on a 3.9 GPA from Boston College. Not bad at all for the city that was No. 64 on Frommer’s list of “100 Best Places to Raise Your Family.” Not bad at all.

Adam Vinatieri Jersey

With his three-field-goal, game-winning performance Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers already complete, and another AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honor on the way, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker spent Sunday with teammates and team officials enjoying as much football as the rest of us.

Seemingly all weekend long, he saw his NFL peers walk off the field with sunken shoulders after errant field-goal and extra-point attempts, part of a league-wide downturn that’s just as liable to give a kicker heartburn as the chili and jambalaya on the menu at Tucker’s Sunday watch party.

“You want to see everybody just do well,” Tucker said. “You want to see…

The Indianapolis Colts are interested in bringing back 46-year-old Adam Vinatieri for a 24th NFL season, according to Fox 59’s Mike Chappell.

Vinatieri is set to become a free agent after signing a one-year deal in February 2018.

Andrew Walker of Colts.com reported on Monday that Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard was expected to meet with Vinatieri on Tuesday to discuss the kicker’s future. The impending free agent made it known that he’d have a hard time walking away if the team showed interest.

“If they’re wanting, I can’t imagine [I’d] not keep playing, you know?” Vinatieri said earlier this week, per Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “I haven’t made the decision yet. I’ll spend a week or two and just kind of see where we’re at.”

Vinatieri is coming off a season in which he converted 23 of 27 field-goal attempts (85.2 percent) and 44 of 47 extra-point attempts (93.6 percent). And while those overall numbers are more than respectable, his field-goal percentage has steadily declined with each passing season since 2014.

In Week 8, Vinatieri made history by becoming the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen’s previous record of 2,544 career points.

An undrafted free agent out of South Dakota State in 1996, Vinatieri has put together arguably the greatest career by a kicker in league history. He will forever be remembered for helping the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls during his decade-long run with the team. He also helped the Colts win their first Super Bowl in more than three decades in 2006-07.

While Vinatieri’s leg has made him a valuable asset through the years, the Colts also value his locker-room presence.

“I don’t know if I’ve been around a special teams player that has as much impact as Adam does in the locker room, from a positive standpoint,” Ballard said, per Chappell. “All of our young guys that come in get to see Adam work, rehab, prepare his body every year, be a pro, handle the hard times, the good times. All of that, what Adam brings, brings a lot of value to the team.”

Since entering the league in 1996, Vinatieri has solidified a reputation as the greatest kicker of all time. Now he’s poised to become the NFL’s official field goal king—and that title should last forever.

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri will soon break the all-time NFL record for made field goals. Last week, he tied Morten Andersen by hitting his 565th career field goal. Maybe Vinatieri will boot himself into sole possession of first place Sunday against the Texans; maybe it’ll take a bit longer. Vinatieri came into the league in 1996, during the Clinton administration’s first term. After more than 22 seasons, what’s another week or two?

I think it’s safe to say that Vinatieri is the greatest kicker in football history. Obviously, he has the volume; he’s got the field goals record in hand, and will almost certainly break the NFL’s career points record by the end of the season too. But points aren’t always the best measure of greatness. Few would argue that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest basketball player ever, even though he’s the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Vinatieri, however, can boast more than just longevity. Sure, he’s been consistently great, keeping pace as younger kickers have gotten increasingly accurate over his career. But he’s also been great in pivotal moments. In the kicking world, he’s like if Kareem won Game 6 of the NBA Finals by shoving Bryon Russell to the ground and hitting a skyhook over his defeated body.

He won the Patriots the infamous “Tuck Rule” game in 2002: On a snowy day in which offense was nearly impossible and kicking should have been too, Vinatieri drilled a game-tying kick to force overtime and won the game shortly thereafter. Two weeks later, he drilled a game-winning kick to give the Patriots their first Super Bowl title:

In 2004, Vinatieri became the first player ever to record game-winning scores in two Super Bowls:

We can also make an argument for Vinatieri as the greatest quarterback of all time: His only career passing attempt went for a touchdown. He also scored on his only career two-point conversion attempt when the Bills refused to return to the field in 1998 after the Pats scored a game-winning touchdown with no time remaining on the clock. (Vinatieri’s decision to run for two points instead of kicking an extra point or doing nothing led to what has been called “the baddest beat” in gambling history.)

But I digress. Vinatieri hasn’t won any Super Bowls of late because of his 2006 decision to leave the Patriots for the Colts. That move seemed smart at the time, during the prime of Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis tenure. Somehow, it wasn’t even the halfway point of Vinatieri’s NFL run.

The record Vinatieri will set is a testament to his remarkable career. It also could go down as an unbreakable benchmark. Here are three reasons I believe Vinatieri will stay the NFL’s field goal king for quite some time.2017 was a banner year for field goals. NFL kickers attempted 1,027 of them, a league record, and made 866, also a record high. They did so largely because offenses are better than ever, and those offenses have put kickers in position to succeed. The league’s top nine seasons in terms of average team yardage per game have all taken place since 2009. The last 11 seasons are the top 11 ever by average leaguewide yards per play. Five of the top six seasons by average touchdowns per team have happened since 2010. Better offenses have put teams in field goal position more often, and that’s resulted in kickers taking—and making—a historic number of field goals.

The increase in offensive efficiency has stemmed in part from an increased leaguewide embrace of analytics. For example, analytics suggest passing is almost always more effective than rushing, so NFL teams have rushed less and passed more. The league’s bottom eight seasons in terms of average rushing attempts per game have all come since 2010; eight of the top nine in terms of passing attempts per game have occurred since 2011.

But coaches’ analytics usage still lags in fourth-down decision-making. Analytics indicate that teams should almost never kick field goals in fourth-and-1 situations. Teams should virtually always go for it on fourth-and-2. Coaches haven’t picked up on this yet. Kickers made 123 field goals last season on fourth downs in which the yardage to gain was 2 yards or fewer. That’s 14 percent of the NFL’s total field goals!

Vinatieri has kicked 92 of his 565 field goals in such situations—16 percent of his career mark. If coaches continue getting hip to analytics, future kickers won’t attempt many of the field goals today’s kickers are making.

Remember how I said kickers went 866-for-1027 on field goals last season? That means the league-average field goal percentage was 84.3. Compare that with 1988, when the NFL average was 71.7 percent. Before 1990, there had been just a handful of kickers in history who had gone a full season with a field goal percentage better than 84.3.

Kickers have gotten much, much better at kicking. In Vinatieri’s rookie campaign, only one kicker made 90 percent of his field goal attempts—and that kicker made exactly 90 percent. Meanwhile, 10 kickers last season hit at least 90 percent of their tries. That’s almost a third of the league. Kickers hit 50-yard field goals now at a better clip than they hit 30-yarders in 1970.

Kicking used to be a job for random Europeans or soccer cast-offs, and those kickers were often allowed to keep their jobs until it was hard for them to walk. (The four oldest players in NFL history have been kickers, topping out with George Blanda, who kicked for the Raiders at age 48 in 1975.) Now, kicking has turned into a football science, taught to players who specifically choose to become placekickers from a young age. Even the league’s bad kickers are now pretty good.

This means teams have less tolerance for kickers struggling, even if those kickers have lengthy track records of success. Just look at Dan Bailey, cut by the Cowboys in September despite his being the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history. Or take Robbie Gould, the fifth-most accurate kicker of all time, who was cut by the Bears in 2016 despite being the team’s career leader in field goals and points. Here’s the list of the NFL’s most accurate kickers ever—it’s stunning how many of them are unemployed not because they retired, but because teams found superior options.

Vinatieri has been a marvel in that he’s actually kept pace with the league’s dramatic kicking improvements. In his first four years in the league, he made less than 80 percent of his field goals three times (in 1996, 1998, and 1999). Since 2010, he’s finished below 80 percent once, in 2012. Vinatieri went 0-for-6 on kicks of 50-plus yards from 2003 to 2007—that’s five whole years in which he didn’t convert a 50-yarder. He’s gone 20-for-25 on 50-yard tries since 2014.

Maybe Vinatieri’s ability to get better two decades into his career is a sign that old players can prosper at this strange position. He’s 45, and he’s better than he was at 25. I suspect the competition for future kicking spots will be so fierce that great aging kickers will regularly be replaced by great younger ones. Vinatieri may be among the last of the ageless kicking robots.

2017 was a banner year for field goals. NFL kickers attempted 1,027 of them, a league record, and made 866, also a record high. They did so largely because offenses are better than ever, and those offenses have put kickers in position to succeed. The league’s top nine seasons in terms of average team yardage per game have all taken place since 2009. The last 11 seasons are the top 11 ever by average leaguewide yards per play. Five of the top six seasons by average touchdowns per team have happened since 2010. Better offenses have put teams in field goal position more often, and that’s resulted in kickers taking—and making—a historic number of field goals.

The increase in offensive efficiency has stemmed in part from an increased leaguewide embrace of analytics. For example, analytics suggest passing is almost always more effective than rushing, so NFL teams have rushed less and passed more. The league’s bottom eight seasons in terms of average rushing attempts per game have all come since 2010; eight of the top nine in terms of passing attempts per game have occurred since 2011.

But coaches’ analytics usage still lags in fourth-down decision-making. Analytics indicate that teams should almost never kick field goals in fourth-and-1 situations. Teams should virtually always go for it on fourth-and-2. Coaches haven’t picked up on this yet. Kickers made 123 field goals last season on fourth downs in which the yardage to gain was 2 yards or fewer. That’s 14 percent of the NFL’s total field goals!

Vinatieri has kicked 92 of his 565 field goals in such situations—16 percent of his career mark. If coaches continue getting hip to analytics, future kickers won’t attempt many of the field goals today’s kickers are making.

Remember how I said kickers went 866-for-1027 on field goals last season? That means the league-average field goal percentage was 84.3. Compare that with 1988, when the NFL average was 71.7 percent. Before 1990, there had been just a handful of kickers in history who had gone a full season with a field goal percentage better than 84.3.

Kickers have gotten much, much better at kicking. In Vinatieri’s rookie campaign, only one kicker made 90 percent of his field goal attempts—and that kicker made exactly 90 percent. Meanwhile, 10 kickers last season hit at least 90 percent of their tries. That’s almost a third of the league. Kickers hit 50-yard field goals now at a better clip than they hit 30-yarders in 1970.

Kicking used to be a job for random Europeans or soccer cast-offs, and those kickers were often allowed to keep their jobs until it was hard for them to walk. (The four oldest players in NFL history have been kickers, topping out with George Blanda, who kicked for the Raiders at age 48 in 1975.) Now, kicking has turned into a football science, taught to players who specifically choose to become placekickers from a young age. Even the league’s bad kickers are now pretty good.

This means teams have less tolerance for kickers struggling, even if those kickers have lengthy track records of success. Just look at Dan Bailey, cut by the Cowboys in September despite his being the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history. Or take Robbie Gould, the fifth-most accurate kicker of all time, who was cut by the Bears in 2016 despite being the team’s career leader in field goals and points. Here’s the list of the NFL’s most accurate kickers ever—it’s stunning how many of them are unemployed not because they retired, but because teams found superior options.

Vinatieri has been a marvel in that he’s actually kept pace with the league’s dramatic kicking improvements. In his first four years in the league, he made less than 80 percent of his field goals three times (in 1996, 1998, and 1999). Since 2010, he’s finished below 80 percent once, in 2012. Vinatieri went 0-for-6 on kicks of 50-plus yards from 2003 to 2007—that’s five whole years in which he didn’t convert a 50-yarder. He’s gone 20-for-25 on 50-yard tries since 2014.

Maybe Vinatieri’s ability to get better two decades into his career is a sign that old players can prosper at this strange position. He’s 45, and he’s better than he was at 25. I suspect the competition for future kicking spots will be so fierce that great aging kickers will regularly be replaced by great younger ones. Vinatieri may be among the last of the ageless kicking robots.

No active kicker is within 100 made field goals of Vinatieri’s total. The closest is Phil Dawson (436), and he’s 43 years old. It seems unlikely that Dawson will stay active long enough to close that gap.

The active player who seems to have the best chance of catching Vinatieri is Stephen Gostkowski—the guy who once replaced Vinatieri on the Patriots more than a decade ago. Gostkowski has 345 made field goals in just 13 seasons. If he keeps up his current pace, Gostkowski will equal Vinatieri in eight years … presuming Vinatieri never kicks another field goal. If Gostkowski doesn’t catch Vinatieri, well, we may be a full Vinatieri career from anybody coming close.

If it takes 23 years for somebody to break Vinatieri’s record, nobody will call me out for being wrong in this article. Do you realize how liberating that is? Sportswriters are wrong about everything, just about all the time. We go on camera Sunday mornings and say, “The Patriots will definitely win today. I’ll cut off my leg and eat it if the Patriots lose.” Then the Patriots lose, and the Freezing Cold Takes guy tweets at us. Do you think that the Freezing Cold Takes account will exist in 23 years? Do you think Twitter will exist in 23 years? Do you think America will exist in 23 years?

I think Vinatieri is about to set a Kimmy Schmidt–level unbreakable record. And if not, hey: This take will be lost to the floodwaters by the time somebody does.

Jack Doyle Jersey

Feb. 27 (UPI) — Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle recently underwent hip surgery and is recovering from the procedure, Colts general manager Chris Ballard confirmed Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Surgery was good, he’s rehabbing good,” Ballard told the team’s official website. “My guess is [he] probably will not do anything through OTAs. I mean, look: Jack’s a vet player. I trust him; trust that he’s going to do everything that he can to get back. And we’re shooting for the start of training camp for him to be back.”

Last season, Doyle sustained a hip injury during Week 2 against the Washington Redskins that caused him to miss five games. Four games into his return, the tight end took a big hit to his kidney against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12.

Doyle was admitted to a local hospital after the game, where he underwent surgery for the injury. The Colts placed him on injured reserve Nov. 26, ending his 2018-19 campaign.

The ailing Indianapolis Colts offense may not get wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle back for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters that Hilton and Doyle are being evaluated on a “week to week” basis as they deal with hamstring and hip injuries, respectively.

Hilton injured his chest and hamstring during the Colts’ Week 4 overtime loss to the Houston Texans. The four-time Pro Bowler sat out last Thursday’s game against the New England Patriots.

Doyle originally injured his hip during the second quarter of Indianapolis’ 21-9 win over Washington in Week 2. He played the rest of that game but has missed the past three weeks.

Despite missing one game, Hilton leads the Colts with 294 receiving yards and ranks second on the team with 38 targets. Doyle has nine receptions for 80 yards in two games.

The Colts enter their Week 6 game against the Jets ranked 15th in the NFL with 23.6 points per game. Their 1-4 record through five games is tied with the Oakland Raiders for worst in the AFC.

INDIANAPOLIS – It will be an offseason unlike anything Jack Doyle has ever gone through in his NFL career.

From 2013-17, Doyle missed 1 game due to injury.

His clean bill of health and ability to suit up every week was a very attractive part of him inking a 3-year contract with Chris Ballard and the Colts back in ’17.

But Doyle is now entering an offseason where he will be rehabbing a pair of significant injuries.

It was a Week Two hip injury that first sidelined Doyle for five weeks in September and October.

Then, in late November, a kidney injury ended Doyle’s season after just 6 total games on the field.

Not only will Doyle be resting that kidney injury early in 2019, possible surgery could be needed for the hip issue.

“It’s tough, I’ve been fairly healthy throughout my career,” Doyle says of the 2019 offseason filled with rehab now coming for him.

“Just a challenge and a test and I’ll take it as that.”

The hip injury first occurred in a Week Two win over the Redskins, when Doyle played the final two quarters with the injury.

He would miss the next 5 weeks before returning for 4 games, with the kidney injury occurring against Miami on Nov. 25.

The seriousness of the kidney injury forced Doyle to the hospital as soon as the game ended. And he stayed there for around 48 hours.

A brief thought about the injury being career-threatening occurred for Doyle, before doctors reassured him that he would make a full recovery.

The 2019 season is a contract year for Doyle, 28, who is held in very high regard by Frank Reich.

“He’s a really, really good football player,” Reich said about Doyle following the tight end going on injured reserve back in late November. “He can give you everything you want at the point of attack. Then in the passing game, you better not take him lightly because he has proven he can catch 80 balls on you and a bunch of touchdowns. Andrew (Luck) trusts him. He’s going to be where he’s supposed to be. He’s going to catch the ball and he’s going to make big plays. That’s what he does. Then he can line up and block for you.

“He’s a great player.”

Having Doyle return healthy in 2019 would allow for Reich to comfortably use more of the multi tight end personnel groupings, throughout the entire season, which was expected when the signing of Eric Ebron occurred.

“I look forward to finally being able to play with (Doyle),” Ebron says of his locker mate, “and hopefully we can do what I thought our offense was going to be when Jack comes back.”

We find ourselves in the midst of a dry season of fantasy football before the draft and before mock drafts really start to heat up. In this desert land, it might be comforting or even amusing to see players we envision to be a spring of fantasy life as our tongues stick to the roofs of our mouth in apparent boredom and musings. It’s in the state of seeming insanity that we begin to dream of a fantasy oasis no-one has dared to dream before.

The TE position is that fleeting mirage as players circle in and out relevancy as their production, targets, and activity often changes from week-to-week. It’s guys like Jack Doyle that have us screaming that we’ve found the fountain of living water one week before we find out he’s turned into a gangrene cesspool of grimy muck the next. I decided to check out the lay of the land myself and see what type of journey we have in front of us with Mr. Doyle.

Before this year, fantasy owners probably had little interest in knowing the man, the myth, and the unlegendary one who is Jack Glenn Doyle. The local Indianapolis high school product and former Western Kentucky Hilltopper went undrafted in 2013 as the rest of us barely knew this guy was a football player. After scouring the internet looking for Jack Doyle combine info (yes my google search engine probably thought that search was odd too), it was clear teams thought he simply lacked the athletic measurables apart from being a big body to stand out. His Player Profiler measurables are simply putrid as his best comparable is journeyman TE Jim Dray. Yuck.

We find ourselves in the midst of a dry season of fantasy football before the draft and before mock drafts really start to heat up. In this desert land, it might be comforting or even amusing to see players we envision to be a spring of fantasy life as our tongues stick to the roofs of our mouth in apparent boredom and musings. It’s in the state of seeming insanity that we begin to dream of a fantasy oasis no-one has dared to dream before.

The TE position is that fleeting mirage as players circle in and out relevancy as their production, targets, and activity often changes from week-to-week. It’s guys like Jack Doyle that have us screaming that we’ve found the fountain of living water one week before we find out he’s turned into a gangrene cesspool of grimy muck the next. I decided to check out the lay of the land myself and see what type of journey we have in front of us with Mr. Doyle.

Before this year, fantasy owners probably had little interest in knowing the man, the myth, and the unlegendary one who is Jack Glenn Doyle. The local Indianapolis high school product and former Western Kentucky Hilltopper went undrafted in 2013 as the rest of us barely knew this guy was a football player. After scouring the internet looking for Jack Doyle combine info (yes my google search engine probably thought that search was odd too), it was clear teams thought he simply lacked the athletic measurables apart from being a big body to stand out. His Player Profiler measurables are simply putrid as his best comparable is journeyman TE Jim Dray. Yuck.

What’s most astounding is when we compare Doyle’s 2016 stats to his previous 3 years combined in the league and find these eye-poppers. In 2016, Doyle’s 78.7 catch percentage placed first among tight ends with at least 50 targets and ninth overall in the league. He was second on the team with 59 receptions, the most for a Colts TE in the last 6 years. He saw an almost 40% snap percentage boost which clearly aided his numbers. He finished as the TE12 in standard and PPR. He also joined Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert as the only TEs to repeat as the top weekly TE in PPR formats.

Apart from the end of the year fantasy finish and career high statistics, let’s check out the film to see if Doyle has some attributes that show up to reveal his spike in production and whether he’s worth a look as a TE1 in 2017.

-In terms of physical skills, Doyle is a basic 5-7 yards and turn TE. He uses his 6’5 frame to box out defenders in the middle of the field. His after the catch ability is average but not terrible for a TE. According to Pro Football Focus, Jack Doyle is ranked as the 15th best tight end in football this season (among 63 qualifiers) as well as the 14th best receiving tight end and the 15th best run blocking tight end.

-As a route runner, I noticed that his route tree is somewhat limited. We’re not looking for him to morph into a Jordan Reed type weapon but rather perhaps a Jason Witten-lite. Dependability is a QB’s dream for their TEs and that’s what Doyle showcased.

-He started out Week 1 with a bang hauling into 2 TDs against the Lions. However, before you get as excited as every other fantasy owner did running to the waiver wire, realize that both TDs were the result of Andrew Luck receiving ample time to hit Doyle in zone coverage while Lions LBs were caught out of position. This week was an outlier in terms of Doyle seeing high reward targets despite seeing significantly less of a snap percentage and target share than teammate Dwayne Allen.

-Next week at Denver, Doyle started out the game with a drop and an offensive holding penalty while taking down Von Miller. Doyle was flagged for the 3rd most offensive holding penalties among TEs, trailing only Jermaine Gresham and Martellus Bennett. He did show some good footwork maneuvering around safety T.J. Ward en route to a 22-yard gain in the 4th quarter to see a drive moving.

-In the first 5 weeks of the season, Allen saw 88% of the snaps which caused Doyle’s production to bottom out in Weeks 4 and 5. He had 3 catches for 14 yards while seeing less than 6% of the team targets.

-Doyle was clearly a major part of the game plan in Week 7 against Tennessee as he received 10 targets including a whopping 5 red zone targets! That tied Cameron Brate (Week 3), Jared Cook (Week 11), Jimmy Graham (Week 13) and Kyle Rudolph (Weeks 14 and 16) for most in a single week for the TE position. Andrew Luck looked little elsewhere as T.Y. Hilton and Frank Gore each received one red zone target each. Doyle caught 5 passes for 78 yards and a TD; however, he could’ve had more. In the 2nd quarter, Luck went his way 3 straight times including a post route which went right through his hands in the end zone.

-Doyle saw 75.6% of the snaps on the year which was a drastic increase from previous years. This is obviously due to Coby Fleener‘s departure. After the Week 10 bye, Doyle’s usage dropped dramatically as he failed to produce more than 7 standard fantasy points in any game. Once Donte Moncrief returned, I noticed that the Colts Doyle was routinely phased out seeing only 3 red zone targets over the final 7 weeks. This is where the majority of his value comes seeing high percentage and high reward targets. If those aren’t there, he’s definitely became waiver wire material in redraft leagues.

-In Week 17, Doyle had little going throughout as a potential 1st down dropped after Doyle heard the footsteps of Jags strong safety Jonathan Cyprien behind him. It wasn’t until the final drive of the game that he caught his first pass as Andrew Luck was leading the 2-minute offense. He threaded the needle finding Doyle from 1-yard out with 14 seconds remaining between 2 defenders. Chalk this one up to Luck more than Doyle simply bowling over a cornerback to jockey for position in the end zone.

-He has been the standard of durability as Doyle hasn’t missed a game in four years. His versatility as an H-back and picking up blitzes shows that he’s gain the trust of Luck as well Colts OC Rob Chudzinski. He also was lined up on the outside moving in motion towards the slot in numerous occasions. In other words, with the Colts running 2TE sets as frequently as they do, Doyle will be on the field as the best blocking TE on the roster.

The biggest drag on Doyle’s production in 2017 will be fellow teammate Erik Swoope, who recently signed his off-season tender. He has some Antonio Gates to his game as Swoope was a former University of Miami basketball player and profiles better stretching defenses down-the-field. They will likely cancel each other out of the TE1 conversation as the TDs and yards varies from week-to-week. However, Doyle clearly profiles better in terms of overall target share.

Doyle is currently going undrafted according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com and should be valued only as a late round TE flier. In dynasty leagues, you could certainly do worse on rostering a backup TE as it seems Doyle will be Luck’s safety valve for the foreseeable future. His catch rate will be tough to repeat although 60+ catches seems in range with Allen shipped out of town to the Patriots. Ultimately, Doyle did not show any significant attributes on film and will only go as far in fantasy as Andrew Luck will take him.

Denzelle Good Jersey

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders signed G/T Denzelle Good to a one-year contract extension, the team announced Saturday.

Good was claimed by the Raiders via waivers from the Indianapolis Colts prior to Week 14 last season, playing in four games with three starts at right guard for the Silver and Black. He also saw action in two games with one start in Indianapolis prior to being claimed by Oakland.

A 6-foot-5, 345-pound versatile lineman, Good was originally selected in the seventh round (255th overall) by the Colts in the 2015 NFL Draft. Over his four seasons in Indianapolis, he appeared in 26 contests at both guard and tackle and made 20 starts.

A native of Gaffney, S.C., Good played three seasons at Mars Hill and was a two-time All-South Atlantic Conference First Team choice. Good did not allow a sack during his career with the Lions.
Offensive lineman Denzelle Good said he’s grateful for a “fresh start” with the Raiders in what has been a difficult season for the 27-year-old on and off the field.

On Oct. 2, while Good was with the Colts, his brother, Overton Deshan Good, was killed in a drive-by shooting in South Carolina. Good did not play in another game for Indianapolis, though he remained on its active roster until being waived Dec. 1.

Good, a 2015 seventh-round pick who started 27 games for Indianapolis, including Sept. 30 this season against Houston, was claimed off waivers by the Raiders on Dec. 3. On Thursday, Good said he’d asked the Colts to release him and has felt “very comfortable” with Oakland.

“In Indy, I just associated Indy with what happened with my brother and everything,” Good said. “I just kind of wanted a new start, partly because of that. That had a big part to play in it. But I feel really good here. It feels good to be with a staff that knows what you can do.”

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Raiders assistant coaches who previously worked in Indianapolis spoke well of Good. After playing one special-teams snap in his Raiders debut Sunday, Good could have a larger role this Sunday against the Bengals depending on the status of starting guards Gabe Jackson (elbow) and Kelechi Osemele (toe).

Good said learning the Raiders’ offense has been “a lot of work” but he “just wanted to come in and fit in — I didn’t want to be that guy everybody had to slow down to help.” He credited line coaches Tom Cable and Lemuel Jeanpierre with helping him learn the terminology and “getting me caught up.”

Overall, Good said his season has been “a challenge.”

“Just going from injuries at the beginning of the season, and finally getting my chance to play, and then what happened, and then me kind of being a practice-squad player for the Colts in a sense, it was all a lot on me. It was weighing on me heavy,” Good said. “But I really wanted to focus and get myself back into order so I can do what I’m supposed to do, which is play football in memory of my little brother.”

Good said he believes a move to different surroundings can help him do that.

“I feel like the change of scenery’s definitely helped me refocus on football,” Good said. “I haven’t been this excited going to practice in a while. Just being on a new team, new guys, new faces, it’s kind of created a sense of feeling like a rookie a little bit, when I first got here. I still do, a little bit, just being with the guys and stuff. It’s been great.”

The Indianapolis Colts opened up the month of December by waiving offensive lineman Denzelle Good, who was still trying to work through the aftermath of his brother’s death earlier in the season.

Though the Colts front office and coaching staff did everything they could to help Good in his time of need, the former seventh-round pick told Vic Tafur of The Athletic that there were issues with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

“I came back after my brother was murdered and I was dealing with a lot of personal issues,” Good told The Athletic. “That didn’t sit well with (DeGuglielmo). He wanted players that fight through things and play.”

Going through something as terrible and as traumatizing as a brother’s death, it was difficult for Good to get back into the swing of things. The 27-year-old said that didn’t sit well with DeGuglielmo.

Though Good was trying to get back to his normal self mere weeks after his brother’s murder, it was difficult. Good said it all came out in a meeting shortly after.

“He told me that as long as I was there, I would never play for him again,” Good said. “I would never play another down because he felt disrespected. I wasn’t going to play even though I felt I was as good as anyone on the field playing.”

It was then that Good went to general manager Chris Ballard and asked for his release from the team, which happened on Dec. 1. The Raiders were awarded Good off of waivers two days later.

Good did clarify that the organization, including the Irsay family, Ballard and head coach Frank Reich, did do all they could to help the offensive lineman in his time of need.

Good has been starting at right guard for the Raiders since arriving in Oakland.

“Being called a failure by somebody when everybody else in the organization felt differently, that gave me some fire when I came here,” Good said. “I always felt I could be a starter. Things just went sour in Indianapolis.”

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have signed offensive lineman Denzelle Good to a one-year extension.

He was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this month before signing Saturday.

Good was claimed off waivers by Oakland from Indianapolis late last year. He played four games for the Raiders, starting the final three at right guard in place of the injured Gabe Jackson.

Good was a seventh-round pick by the Colts in 2015. He has experience at tackle and guard, with 20 starts in his career.

“Me, him, and my older brother, we always used to talk as kids about what we would do once we got to the NFL,” he said. “Me being the one that made it, they were both very excited for me. But him being who he was to me, our relationship – it was just special.”

In late September, Overton was at Lucas Oil Stadium to see the Colts play the Houston Texans and watch Denzelle get his first start of the season.

Two days later, he was killed in a drive-by shooting at his home in South Carolina.

The loss of his brother is something Good is still struggling to come to terms with.

“It didn’t feel real for a long time. It still doesn’t really feel real,” he said. “I find myself struggling a lot. But I feel like this is the best way I have to not think about the situation.”

In football, Good found himself surrounded by family – and not just his Colts family. He heard from former teammates, former coaches, and NFL players he’s never met.

“It’s been tremendous,” he said. “Everyone has let me know that whatever I need – if I need to talk about anything, I can contact them. That’s really important to me.”

It’s also important to him to continue to live his dream and honor his brother while he’s doing it.

As part of the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign, Good will wear custom cleats in support of The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence.

Designed by Jordan Custom Kicks with Overton’s image and his high school football number, Good will represent his brother and all victims of gun violence.

“It’s a very sad statistic to be a part of,” he said. “I’ve always felt bad when I hear stories like that, but it was just a whole different level actually being involved in a situation.”

Good always had his brother with him on gameday. But the next time he steps on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, Overton will be in his heart and on his feet.

“It will mean a lot. I was having a hard day last week and DT (David Thornton) pulled them out a little early just to show me. It was right on time for me. It calmed me down and I wore them for practice that day.”

When Denzelle Good made it to the NFL, his brother Overton did too.

“He was my best friend. We talked every day,” he said. “He was a great guy. He was funny, he was hilarious. He was loved by a lot of people, I know that.”

Once a childhood fantasy, for Denzelle Good, life in the NFL is now reality – one he enjoys sharing with those closest to him.

He’ll continue to live his dream for himself, for his family, and for the brother who was with him every step of the way – and will continue to be.

Clayton Geathers Jersey

The Indianapolis Colts brought back veteran safety Clayton Geathers one a one-year deal this week to provide some depth in the defensive backfield, but for a while it seemed he might have been moving on.

As the process developed, Geathers took two reported free agent visits with the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Colts were allowing the 26-year-old to test the market before making their final offer.

When it was all said and done, though, Geathers knew he wanted to return to Indy, a place he considers his home.
“Being in Indy for all four years – it was different. It was some good visits,” Geathers told reporters earlier this week. “I’m not going to really get into details, but everything went well and I just made my decision to be home – be back in Indy. We’ve got a great thing going.”

A leader in the locker room and captain on the field, Geathers has made a big impact during his time in Indy. However, injuries have kept him from reaching his full potential, which could be high in the Colts’ two-high defense.

The talent Geathers has is unquestionable. He’s an enforcer near the line of scrimmage helping against the run while also working well as a deep half safety next to 2017 first-round pick Malik Hooker.

Still, proving he can stay healthy is his main objective for the 2019 season.

“Personally, just want to stay on the field,” Geathers said. “Be healthy and prove all the doubters wrong.”

The Colts defense made strides during the second half of the 2019 season, and Geathers was a big part of that. The entire unit is looking to make improvements for the upcoming campaign, and the former fourth-round pick will be at the forefront of the charge in Indy.

Continuing what they started defensively is what ultimately brought Geathers back.

“Just to be honest, this building, the staff, the training room, my teammates, what Indy has to offer and just after last year,” Geathers said. “We were good. We had a good run. We’ve got unfinished business so I wanted to be a part of that.”

The Indianapolis Colts have been thin at the safety position this offseason, but it seems they will be bringing in some depth as they are finalizing a deal to re-sign veteran Clayton Geathers.

An unrestricted free agent this offseason, Geathers was allowed to test the market, which he did with the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, it seems he’s returning to the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

The news was first reported by Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star and confirmed by Stephen Holder of The Athletic

There was always a high chance the Colts were going to bring Geathers back. Given their inactivity in the safety market and the massive need they have on the roster, the re-signing might be somewhat risky but necessary as well.

Geathers has been a solid producer for the Colts since he was drafted in 2015 and while his talents work nicely in the two-high scheme they run often, his injuries have kept him from reaching his potential.

In 12 games (12 starts) during the 2018 season, Geathers recorded 89 tackles (61 solo), three passes defended and one tackle for loss.

It should be noted nothing is official until the team announces it, but it seems Geathers is returning on a new deal.

Clayton Geathers is a big, physical, filled-out strong safety (6’2″, 218 lbs) who looks like Donte Whitner in his prime. He was a four-year starter at Central Florida and really became the leader of the defense there. He ran and tested overall much better than expected, showing speed, strength and explosive qualities. Geathers lives near the line of scrimmage and was an active, aggressive tackler in his career, posting 96 tackles in his senior season. He closes on the ball with speed and can run down backs behind the line of scrimmage. He’s a fierce hitter with the power to make a statement on impact.

Geathers is a limited coverage safety who must be played in the box. He’ll struggle with any coverage beyond 10 yards and is too often chasing receivers and tight ends instead of mirroring them. He was an active tackler, but he also missed plenty of tackles and left production on the field. Geathers looks for that huge hit instead of breaking down in space and making a clean, wrap-up tackle. In coverage, he has potential but has to learn to trust his eyes and not get sucked in by play action and misdirection. He can help on special teams early and has potential to develop into a starter if he can improve his awareness and tackling.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After going a couple of places, Clayton Geathers isn’t going anywhere. “This is home,’’ he said Wednesday. “Everybody welcomed me back. I wanted to be somewhere I was valued. “This is a good place.

Geathers happy to return ‘home’ to Colts | Sports | heraldbulletin.com
Clayton Geathers wanted to allow the free-agent process to run its course. So he took visits with the Cowboys and the Buccaneers this week and described both as good experiences.

Colts Re-Sign Top Strong Safety Clayton Geathers
The Indianapolis Colts announced today they have re-signed free-agent-to-be Clayton Geathers, ensuring the team’s top strong safety’s return for the 2019 season.

‘Unfinished Business’ Leads Clayton Geathers Back To Colts
Entering free agency for the first time in his career, why did Clayton Geathers ultimately believe decision to return to the Indianapolis Colts was a “no-brainer?

Andrew Luck’s healthy offseason should scare Colts’ foes – Indianapolis Colts Blog- ESPN
Andrew Luck isn’t just satisfied with his return to form; he’s excited about what a full offseason of preparation can do for his game.

Clayton Geathers Returns To Colts With “Unfinished Business” | 1070 the Fan

On Wednesday afternoon, Clayton Geathers re-upped with the Colts on a one-year deal. Why did Geathers return to Indianapolis?

Matt Eberflus Changes Culture On Colts Defense, Leads To Immediate Results | 1070 the Fan

In new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, the Colts have undergone a culture change on the defensive side of the ball which led to early results.

INDIANAPOLIS – Of the remaining free agents for the Colts in 2019, Clayton Geathers is probably the most likely to return.

The Colts want him back.

Chris Ballard reiterated that last week, just before meeting with Geathers’ agent about a possible second contract for the physical safety.

“Do we want Clayton back? Yes, we want Clayton back,” Ballard said last week. “We will have some good talks with his agent this week.”

Ballard credited Geathers’ agent, Joe Flanagan, for the job he’s done in representing the 2015 fourth-round pick of the Colts.

We will see if their conversation last week leads to a deal before free agency begins on March 13th.

The Colts have gone out of their way to praise the type of player and leader that Geathers has been.

“I love everything Clayton Geathers stands for,” Ballard said at the end of the 2018 season. “I watched a guy every week fight his tail off to get ready to play.”

Health has been the biggest question regarding Geathers’ early NFL career. Since his 2015 rookie season, the 26-year-old safety has missed 22 games, while playing in just 26 contests.

When asked about Geathers and the safety situation this offseason, Ballard agreed with the assessment that the Colts could very well handle things like they did with Jack Mewhort and the offensive line last year.

Mewhort, like Geathers, fought injuries but was a player the staff really liked. In turn, Ballard and the Colts gave Mewhort a 1-year ‘prove it’ deal as a re-signee in 2018.

The Colts didn’t expect Mewhort to solve all their offensive line questions in the offseason. But they wanted to give a hard-working player, who was a former high-round draft pick, another chance to stay healthy, without mortgaging significant cap space.

A similar sort of deal for Geathers, while also bolstering the safety depth this offseason, is something Ballard said could happen this offseason.

When asked about Geathers and having insurance at safety, Ballard pointed out to how beneficial a healthy Malik Hooker this offseason will be for his development, while also signaling out Matthias Farley and George Odum as key depth pieces at moving forward.

With more than a week to go until free agency starts, Geathers looks to be arguably the strongest re-sign candidate for Ballard and the Colts.

Josh Ferguson Jersey

Josh Ferguson, a senior running back from Joliet Catholic, has committed to the University of Illinois.

Ferguson, who is 5’8″, 169 pounds, is the 23-ranked player in the state of Illinois and is among the best running backs in the state.

During his junior year, he rushed for 1,596 yards and 20 touchdowns on 178 carries, averaging 10 yards-per-rush. He had an outstanding 5A State Championship game, rushing for 107 yards.

Ferguson is a below average sized running back, but his size is misleading, because he is a well built, strong back.

With a 40-yard dash time lower than 4.5, he is known primarily for his speed and ability to change direction quickly and fluently.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported that the Houston Texans signed Josh Ferguson, another young offensive weapon at running back to their 10-man practice squad this week.

Ferguson played college football at the University of Illinois before deciding to enter to the 2016 NFL Draft, opting to sign with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent. In his first two seasons with the Colts, Ferguson had 16 carries for 25 yards, plus 23 receptions for 152 yards.
The Texans among the other 31 teams in the league cannot have enough running backs options in their active roster and scout team since the normal lifespan of running backs in the NFL is shorter due to the physical demand at that position. Ferguson is the first running back on the practice squad this season. To make room on the practice squad, the Texans released rookie defensive back Robert Jackson, who was signed to the practice squad a week ago.

Besides Ferguson, the Texans currently have wide receivers Malachi Dupre, Cyril Grayson, Isaac Whitney, tight end Jerrell Adams on the practice squad. Also for the offense on the practice squad are offensive lineman Kyle Fuller, Roderick Johnson and Chad Slade. Defensively the Texans only have outside linebacker Davin Bellamy and defensive back Andre Chachere on the practice squad.

Ferguson originally went undrafted out of Illinois in 2016 and signed on with the Indianapolis Colts, where he’d spend the first two years of his career. With Indy, Ferguson has been active for 26 games and has seen 16 carries for 25 yards. He’s also hauled in 23 of his 30 targets for 152 yards. He’s also shown the ability to contribute as a kick returner as he’s fielded nine kicks in his NFL career for 166 yards giving him a 18.4 yards per return average. Ferguson’s most recent stop in the NFL was with the Houston Texans’ practice squad.

A spot on the practice unit became open for Ferguson after the team released fellow running back Kenneth Farrow from the practice unit on Tuesday during their string of transactions on both their active roster and practice squad. Originally, the Patriots signed Kenneth Farrow to their 90-man roster to use as an extra body for their preseason finale against the Giants back over the summer. Shortly after that contest the team let him go during final roster cuts. In New England’s preseason finale against New York, Farrow was able to carry the football fives time for 24 yards, while catching all three of his targets for 14 yards.

After not making the opening day roster, the team brought Farrow back via the practice squad on Sept. 12, but his say with the team was cut short after they released him eight days later to make room for wide receiver Corey Coleman, who has since been let go by New England himself. Farrow made his way back onto the practice squad, but is now suffering a familiar fate.

While Ferguson is the newest running back to hit the practice squad for the Patriots, a former preseason favorite is also garnering interest around the NFL. According to Howard Balzer, rookie Ralph Webb tried out for the Cleveland Browns this week as he continues to find a more permanent home in the league. The Vanderbilt product did start the year on New England’s practice squad after a promising preseason where he was able to total 102 yards rushing, while catching five passes for 28 yards and three total touchdowns.

As for Ferguson, he nows joins a Patriots practice squad that consists of linebackers Ufomba Kamalu and Calvin Munson along with offensive tackle Eric Smith, quarterback Danny Elting, tight end Stephen Anderson, cornerback Jomal Wiltz, defensive back David Jones and defensive linemen Frank Herron and Trent Harris.

Ferguson spent the majority of the season on Houston’s practice squad and now will have a chance to make the 2019 roster. The 25-year-old running back has 16 carries for 25 yards and 23 receptions for 152 yards during his short career, though he failed to spend any time on an NFL roster this season.

Indianapolis announced the roster moves on Wednesday. The Colts waived the 24-year-old on Wednesday when they signed free agent wide receiver Cobi Hamilton. Indianapolis originally signed the University of Cincinnati star on Aug. 14. The 6-foot, 220-pound running back had 42 carries for 165 yards and two scores and two receptions for 14 yards in five games in 2017 with the Detroit Lions.

Ferguson — who will land on the Colts’ injured reserve list if he clears waivers — has 16 carries for 25 yards and 23 catches for 152 yards in 26 career NFL appearances, all for the Colts over the last two seasons. He also has 166 yards on nine kickoff returns. He joined the Colts in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois.

The Colts’ unofficial depth chart includes Marlon Mack starting at running back with Robert Turbin listed as a second-string option. The Colts’ reserve running backs include Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Christine Michael and Brandon Oliver.

Turbin is suspended for four games, while Mack is dealing with a hamstring issue.

Pierre Desir Jersey

When you’re an NFL player, “journeyman” isn’t exactly the moniker you want to carry around with you.

But for Pierre Desir, that’s simply who he was when he was claimed off waivers by the Indianapolis Colts just prior to the start of the 2017 regular season.

After a failed transition to safety, Desir would be let go by the Cleveland Browns — the same team that selected the lengthy cornerback in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft — during final cuts in 2016.

He would be claimed off waivers by the San Diego Chargers the next day, waived the next month, signed back to the active roster three days later … only to be waived, once again, three days after that.

Desir was then signed by the Seattle Seahawks to start the 2017 offseason, but was let loose by the team during final cuts 8 1/2 months later.

Too talented for the practice squad, yet not getting legit chances on anybody’s 53-man roster, Desir pondered what life without football would be like. After all, Desir had already defied the odds coming from a Division II school; he had achieved his dream of playing in the NFL.

Then the Colts came calling.

And this time, something felt different.

Fast forward to Thursday. Desir, sporting a sharp navy blazer and seated in a conference room at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, found himself face-to-face with a document that would change his life forever. His name, position and photo on a TV screen behind him, Desir eventually got to the final page, scribbled his signature one last time, raised his head and flashed his trademark smile.

All of a sudden, Desir was a journeyman no more.

A native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Desir’s family emigrated — that’s the technical term; it was more like fled — to the United States when he was 4 years old. Overcoming those kinds of odds to make it to the NFL is amazing in itself, but that’s not even the beginning of Desir’s unlikely journey to becoming one of the league’s top cornerbacks.

By the time Desir entered high school, his fall sport of choice was soccer. But that all changed after his freshman year.

Going against his parents’ wishes — his dad was once a professional soccer player in Haiti — Desir said he “just took a chance, took a leap of faith and just wanted to play with my friends and try something new:” American football.

Except he had no idea what he was doing.

“I did everything wrong,” Desir said. “Whatever you think. I had the pads wrong. Back in the day it was the hit pads. I didn’t know how the hit pads worked. I wore soccer cleats for awhile before I transitioned. I thought it was the same cleats.”
A natural athlete, it didn’t take Desir long to catch on, however.

“I think once I actually got the hang of things and got the concepts of how to actually play football, I just ran with it,” he said.

No kidding. Desir quickly became one of the top defensive back prospects in the state of Missouri, where the Francis Howell Central High School product was an all-state and first-team all-league selection during his junior and senior seasons.

But at that point, Desir already had plenty of motivation to find on-the-field success. At the age of 15, Desir and his then-girlfriend, Morgan, 16, found out they were expecting a child.

A few months later, their daughter, Keeli, was born.

“Honestly, I had mixed emotions,” Desir told WTHR’s Bob Kravitz about his initial feelings at that time. “Like, I was still a kid myself; now I’ve got to raise a kid? I was happy, nervous, not knowing what to do, not having friends who were having that same experience.’’
Desir forged on, and hoped to earn a scholarship at a big-time school. A little late to the recruiting game — and not scoring high enough on on his standardized tests — Desir had to settle for Washburn University, a Division II program in Topeka, Kan.

Redshirted during his true freshman season in 2008 — and originally slated to be a wide receiver — Desir moved over to cornerback the following year, and by the end of the 2010 season, he had racked up 12 interceptions, which already ranked third in school history.

Maybe, just maybe, Desir could get a shot to play professional football.

Now married to Morgan — who gave birth to the couple’s second daughter, Kamryn, in 2010 — the two wanted to move closer to their families in St. Charles, Mo., which sits just a half-hour northwest of St. Louis. There, Desir was presented with the opportunity to finish out the last two seasons of his college football career at nearby Lindenwood, an NAIA school.

But when Washburn wouldn’t grant Desir his release from its program, he had to sit out for a year. He found himself in a crappy situation — quite literally.

Working odd jobs at a local temp agency during his year away from football, Desir one morning was sent to a flooded apartment complex, where he was told, “You have to get all this stuff from the basement out and you have to get all the water drained from the basement area.”

There was much more than just water in that basement, however — and Desir was covered in it up to his knees.

He earned $40 for his troubles that day.

From that point on, Desir had all the motivation he needed to get back onto the football field as soon as possible.
Desir was even better after his year away from football. In two seasons at Lindenwood, he totaled 93 tackles (3.5 for a loss), 30 passes defensed, 13 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), a sack and one forced fumble and fumble recovery apiece, earning the Cliff Harris Award — which goes to the top small-college defender in the nation — in the process.

He was undoubtedly attracting the attention of NFL scouts, who were intrigued to see how — or if — Desir’s game would translate at the highest of levels.

“Exceptional-sized, Division II standout with the size, ball skills and anticipation to earn a job as a zone cover man,” NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki wrote of Desir’s professional prospects.

Desir earned an invitation to take part in the prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where he really got his first major exposure to NFL teams through practices and interviews.

But what Desir really wanted was a chance to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine — a rarity for non-Division I prospects. And on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, Desir got his wish: he found himself running around on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf with the best college defensive back prospects in the nation.

His 40-yard dash time, 4.59 seconds, didn’t blow anybody away, but Desir was able to showcase his athleticism nonetheless. His 133-inch broad jump was the best among all cornerbacks and was just one inch short of being the best of all Combine participants; Desir’s 11.6-second time in the 60-yard shuttle, meanwhile, ranked fifth among all corners.

And on May 10, 2014, Desir’s hard work and determination paid off, as he became a fourth-round (127th-overall) draft pick of the Browns.

“I think that when you have a guy from a small school and the cards are stacked against him, one thing you do look for are those ‘make it’ intangibles or reasons why you would think that if we take a shot on this guy, this guy will succeed,’ Browns scout Chisom Opara said at that time, via News-Herald.com. “This kid seems like he’s wired the right way for success. If you’re going to take a shot on a guy from a small school, it kind of gives you a little more confidence that something is going to pan out.”

Desir showed he could stick at the NFL level his first two seasons in Cleveland, playing in 19 total games with seven starts and logging 46 tackles and seven passes defensed.

But in 2016, the Browns brought in a new head coach in Hue Jackson, and his new defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, wanted to see what Desir could do at free safety. The experiment lasted a few months before Desir was waived during final cuts.

Now a father of three — his son, Pierre Jr., or PJ, was born in 2015 — Desir’s mini-NFL tour was about to begin.

San Diego. Five games played. Cut. San Diego. Waived. More than 11 weeks go by. Seattle. Offseason program, minicamp, training camp, preseason. Waived.

Then, on Sept. 3, 2017, Desir, wondering if he should give up on his NFL career, got a call from the Colts.

Desir felt rejuvenated. And it showed on the field.

With cornerbacks seemingly going down one by one in Indianapolis, general manager Chris Ballard, then in his first year on the job, took a flyer on the journeyman Desir just before the start of the 2017 regular season. That same day, the Colts claimed another gritty Division II prospect at the cornerback position: Kenny Moore II.

Inactive for Week 1 and a healthy scratch for Week 2, Desir earned his first start in Indy against his old team, the Browns, in Week 3 and impressed with six tackles and a pass defensed in the Colts’ 31-28 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Proving to be a solid role player during that 2017 season with the Colts, Desir would play in nine games total, with six starts, and finished with 32 tackles, seven passes defensed and nabbed his first-career interception — an acrobatic grab on a throw from future Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Although Desir’s season ended prematurely in early-December due to a pectoral injury, he had done more than enough to earn another one-year contract to return to Indy.

And he turned in a career year.

Desir entered the 2018 season a certain part of the rotation at cornerback for the Colts and new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, but by midseason, he had taken over the top spot on the depth chart. He would post career-bests in tackles (79), tackles for loss (two), passes defensed (eight), forced fumbles (two) and fumble recoveries (one), while also adding his second-career interception.

Desir was also rated as the NFL’s second-best tackling cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus.

But Desir saved his best work for the most critical of matchups. After starting the season with a 1-5 record, the Colts were storming back into the playoff race down the stretch. Desir was oftentimes tasked with shadowing some of the top receivers the league has to offer.

In Week 11, the Tennessee Titans’ Corey Davis had two receptions for 30 yards; the Colts won 38-10. Three weeks later, the Houston Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins was held to four receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown; the Colts won 24-21. The next week? Amari Cooper had just four receptions for 32 yards, and the Colts blanked the Cowboys, 23-0. And in Indy’s Week 17 regular season finale, a win-or-go-home matchup against the Titans, Davis was held in check once again, this time finishing with five receptions for 48 yards; the Colts earned their first playoff berth in four seasons with their 33-17 road victory.

But perhaps Desir’s best performance came the following Saturday, in the team’s Wild Card Round matchup against the Texans. Hopkins, who had just turned in his second straight First-Team All-Pro performance after collecting a career-best 115 receptions for 1,572 yards with 11 touchdowns during the regular season, was once again held in check by Desir and the Indy defense, as he finished with five receptions for 37 yards. The Colts would advance to the Divisional Round with their 21-7 victory at NRG Stadium.

Desir will always project a team-first attitude, but even he had to admit that his performance down the stretch for the Colts, who won nine of their final 10 regular season games, “definitely built my confidence.”

“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t,” Desir told Colts.com’s Matt Taylor on Thursday. “Those are some great players — as you said, Pro Bowl players.

“But I think that all attributes to how hard that we work as a defense. We grind in April all the way out until June, and then come back for training camp. So it’s just everything that I did leading up to that time — all the extra studying, all the extra reps in practice — just gave me the confidence to go out there and to that job,” Desir continued. “And it helps when the coaches believe in you, when they allow you to play man coverage, or they allow you the freedom to do that. When you have two great guys on the back end like that, as a corner, when you don’t have to worry that much, it’s easy.”

Now having officially made the transition from journeyman to being considered among the best at his position in the NFL, many wondered if Desir, entering his age-29 season in 2019, would take advantage of his newfound status and play the field for the best offer with free agency about to get underway.

But, to Desir, he only had one place he wanted to consider “home” — and directed his agent as such. On Thursday, he officially signed a new contract, reportedly a three-year deal, that will keep him in the Indianapolis secondary for the foreseeable future.

The two sides came to an agreement Wednesday afternoon, before Desir — who had reported interest from several other teams — ever was able to hit the open market.

“I think a lot of players – what we work for is to find a home, a place that we can be for multiple years and not have to keep traveling and moving our families,” Desir said Thursday during a conference call with local reporters. “So being able to call Indy home is something that I always wanted ever since I came in in 2017. I am just glad that it finally got done and I am ready to work and ready to get back out there playing football.”

Desir’s new contract this week proves his story is far from over. But after defying the odds as a Division II athlete to even make it to the NFL, and then hopping from city to city over the next four years — and even considering retirement from time to time — the now-former journeyman and his family can officially call Indianapolis home — and for that, he says he’ll be forever grateful.

“It’s one of those things that I always try to (relay) when I talk to people is that never doubt yourself, or never doubt your dreams,” Desir told Taylor. “It’s gonna be a process; it might not be as quick as you want it to be. But it’s going to happen when it’s supposed to happen.

“And, lucky for me, I surrounded myself with so many great people — friends, my family’s overly supportive, my wife, my kids, my mom, my mother-in-law — everyone’s just so supportive of me and helped me get through certain points in my career where I was gonna hang it up. And they continued to push me. And I just always try to let everyone know (to) support yourself with the right group of people, always believe in yourself and your dreams will come true.”

Nate Hairston Jersey

PHILADELPHIA– Former Temple Owls’ cornerback Nate Hairston was selected by the Indianapolis Colts Saturday in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft with the 158th overall pick.

Hairston, who converted to the corner position in 2015 after seeing little action as a wide receiver, started 13 games for the Owls in 2016, helping lead Temple to a 10-4 record, including an American Athletic Conference Championship.

In 2016, the Frederick, Maryland-native and Gov. Thomas Johnson high school product totaled 25 tackles, two interceptions, and three pass breakups for Temple. He was the senior leader in Temple’s secondary that was third in the nation defending the pass, and did not allow a touchdown pass against him.

A class of 2012 recruit, Hairston was a 2-star player coming out of high school, according to 247Sports players rankings.

“Nate is a long, physical corner,” said Temple head coach Geoff Collins. “I’m excited about him. Having coached some very talented defensive backs in my career, I can see him playing great on Sunday’s for the Colts.”

Though he is one of the rawest corners in this year’s draft class, Hairston has the potential to be a starter in the league for a long time. In going to Indianapolis, he will have the chance to immediately make an impact with the Colts, as Indy has struggled consistently over the years in defending the pass. The Colts were 27th in defending the pass in 2016-17, giving up 263.0 passing yards per game to opponents.

Despite this, Hairston will have the opportunity to learn from veteran defensive backs like Vontae Davis and Darius Butler. Hairston is the second cornerback selected by the Colts in this years draft, joining the University of Florida’s Quincy Wilson, who was coached by Temple’s Collins in college.

The Indianapolis Colts ruled out seven players, including six starters, for Thursday night’s game at the New England Patriots, while six others are listed as questionable.

With a rash of injuries and coming off a 70-minute overtime game on a short week, Colts head coach Frank Reich decided to hold only walkthroughs this week, meaning the team won’t have an actual practice before playing the Patriots. But the lighter work was not enough to keep several players from missing Thursday.

As expected, top wideout T.Y. Hilton (chest, hamstring) will not play. Joining him will be running back Marlon Mack (hamstring), tight end Jack Doyle (hip), right tackle Denzelle Good (not injury related), cornerbacks Quincy Wilson (concussion) and Kenny Moore (concussion), and backup defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (calf).

Of that group, only Mack participated on even a limited basis in walkthroughs this week, but he has battled a hamstring issue since the pre season and will miss his fourth game of the year.

Listed as questionable are center Ryan Kelly (hand), left tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), linebacker Darius Leonard (ankle), cornerback Nate Hairston (ankle), safety Clayton Geathers (knee) and kicker Adam Vinatieri (right groin). All six were listed as limited on Wednesday after all but Castonzo sat out Tuesday’s session.

Castonzo has yet to play this season after aggravating his hamstring issue on multiple occasions since the pre season. He had previously missed a total of five games in seven NFL seasons.

Kelly and Geathers have each not missed a snap this season for Indy, while Leonard and Hairston have missed just one apiece. Leonard, a second-round rookie, leads the NFL in tackles (54) while ranking third in tackles for loss (seven) and tied for sixth in sacks (four).

Reich told reporters earlier this week he had faith the Colts’ other receivers would step up in Hilton’s absence, as they did against the Texans on Sunday. Chester Rogers, Ryan Grant and Zach Pascal combined for 19 catches, 205 yards and a score vs. Houston.

“As far as gameplanning, we have a lot of confidence in the next guy up,” Reich said. “I think that showed this past week — when T.Y. went out, we still were able to move the ball well.

.”.. So we’ll miss T.Y., but at the same time, you’ve just gotta have the next-man-up mentality.”

Good is the only player on the Colts’ report for a non-injury reason. He will not play after his brother was killed in an apparent drive-by shooting in South Carolina on Tuesday.

Hooker did it again. He recorded his second interception in his second career start. Of course, this one was of a different nature than his inaugural pick and isn’t why he was considered as rookie of the week material for the second straight week.

Besides the fact that the rookie pool was dwindled this week, with injuries to Marlon Mack, Quincy Wilson and Anthony Walker, Hooker seemed to be in position to make plays on the ball on several occasions.

And when he seemed to be out of place, he did what he does best and ate up grass like a gazelle to make up for it. If not for what seemed to be a few poorly placed balls by DeShone Kizer, Hooker may have added even more intercepted pigskins to his trophy case.

One particular pass was in the 4th quarter on 3rd and 9, Kizer attempted a throw up the middle to Ricardo Louis and Hooker jumped it. If the ball had been a little more on target, it would’ve been an easy Hooker pick.

He wasn’t perfect, however, as he did get beat deep on occasion. An example of this was early in the 2nd quarter, Kizer heaved a ball deep down the left sideline to Kenny Britt who was left open due to a Hooker false step.

Later on, during the 2nd quarter, Hooker was in man coverage, which is not one of his strong suits, and he let Seth DeValve body him up and catch a bullet for a 20-yard gain.

Hooker is playing an infinitely difficult position as a single high safety, one that is among the rarest in terms of talented players. So, even though his downs are evident, his ups are promising enough to light up the eyes of Colts fans.

New York, NY – Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County Maryland, a safe haven for young boys and girls in the area since 2010, announced today that MBK Sports client and Indianapolis Colts defensive back Nate Hairston has been named to their Board of Directors as an honorary member. As part of his duties, Hairston will make public appearances at the club, attend fundraisers and allow the use of his name and likeness to promote the club and its mission.

After he attended Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Hairston earned a scholarship to attend Temple University. After his first three seasons as a wide receiver, Hairston switched to cornerback and never looked back. He was drafted in the 5th Round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and quickly earned himself a spot on the 53-man roster as the Colts starting nickel cornerback.

“The Boys and Girls Club has meant so much to myself and my family over the years,” Hairston said. “I’m just grateful that God has put me in a position where I can give back to my community and serve as a positive role model for the youth in the area.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County on this prestigious opportunity for Nate,” said Eugene Lee, President of MBK Sports. “Nate is always looking for ways to use his platform to make a difference, especially with the youth of our generation. His leadership position within the club will provide a dynamic vehicle to pay it forward and impact lives in a positive and meaningful way.”

“Nate Hairston’s involvement with Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County (BGCFC) will be a tremendous opportunity for the club members,” said Lisa McDonald the Executive Director at Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County. “They can imagine and dream, just like Nate did, and they will certainly look to him as a positive role model.”

​Boys & Girls Clubs of America is the nation’s oldest and largest organization with a primary mission to serve young people from disadvantaged circumstances. Since 1860, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has grown to over 3,000 Clubs reaching more than three million deserving kids in neighborhoods across America. Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County Maryland began in 2002 and offers out of school programs to at-risk youth. By 2010 the Club became an officially chartered organization as it continued to provide a safe environment for young people to have fun and better themselves.

MBK Sports (MBK) is a full-service NFL player representation industry dedicated to the growth and fulfillment of its clients’ careers and potential, both on and off the field, in the short and long-term. Founded by long-time NFL agent and attorney Eugene T. Lee and with offices in New York City, Indianapolis and Los Angeles, MBK’s far-reaching footprint is impacting lives nationwide through a foundation of faith and a dynamic combination of diligence, experience, integrity and industry expertise.