Quenton Nelson Jersey

INDIANAPOLIS – Dave DeGuglielmo is everything an offensive line coach should be. He looks like one. Thinks like one. Yells like one. He is beautifully blunt, a man with no time for pleasantries and no interest in clichés. Ask him a question, he tells you what he thinks.

No spin. No coachspeak. Just truth.

He also might be doing a better job than any position coach in football this year. No unit in 2018 has remade itself, and revived itself, more substantially than the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line. For years, they were the butt of jokes, the Achilles heel of this franchise. No more. Now they’re one of the best lines in football, and they have the numbers to back it up.

Eleven games in, the Colts sit tied for first in the league with just 11 sacks allowed – an unthinkable metric considering the fat totals they’d allowed since quarterback Andrew Luck entered the league in 2012: 41, 32, 29, 37, 44 and 56. During a brilliant four-game stretch, the line went 239 consecutive dropbacks without allowing a single sack, the NFL’s longest such streak since 1991. That’s 27 years.

My how things have changed.

How has Gugs done it? He expounded on a variety of topics Thursday, including how Quenton Nelson’s nastiness has changed film sessions, whether Mark Glowinski is the league’s best-kept secret and how Frank Reich does it differently from any coach he’s ever been around:

» On how Quenton Nelson has changed the vibe in the o-line room:

He’s changed the way the game is played with those guys, or at least, changed the accepted level of play beyond, ‘I’m blocking my guy.’ You see him knock people down, you see him go after linebackers. He plays with a nastiness and brings out the natural nastiness in other players.

To put a guy down? That’s one thing. To put a guy down and lay on him, it’s another thing. You know what I’m saying? You put a guy down and don’t let him get up? That’s a third thing. There’s a degree of, ‘I’m going to make sure you understand what happened to you.’ And it’s natural to him. That’s a great thing. It’s not just how you finish a guy. It’s knocking him down and making sure he stays down.

Let me put it this way: I have a Rottweiler. He’s the friendliest guy you know. But you come in the house in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t want to be there, you know? I wouldn’t want to be that guy. Now, he’s never messed with anybody while I’m standing there, but I wouldn’t want to walk in on him in the middle of the night. (Nelson) plays to the whistle, plays right to the whistle, and he goes down there and picks up his teammates every single play. Most unusual thing I’ve ever seen. Doesn’t matter where it is.

When they get to the bench after a scoring drive, they’re comparing how many times they knocked their guy down – this is what they’re talking about. ‘Coach, I got three.’ ‘Coach, I got four. You’ll see it on the tape.’ And they’ll check the sheet, ‘Hey coach, you missed one, this was a knockdown.’ Because they’re understanding this: We may not come out of the gate on the first play and knock you back five yards, but if we chip away at you, and we are relentless, and are on you and we are cutting you and knocking you down and we are taking a second hit and we are pushing you to the whistle, eventually, you’re gonna start looking. Where is Glowinski? Where is Nelson? Where’s Kelly? Where’s Boehm? Where are they coming from?

Everybody has a vision of those old-time nasty, tape on the arms, the J pad, little dirt on the face, a little bit of blood coming from their nose (linemen of the past). Well, if you put tape on these guys’ wrists and have dirt and old-time facemasks, these guys would be throwbacks to the 50s and 60s. That’s how they play the game, and play within the rules. These guys – with Quenton being a shining example – they know how to finish a football play.
» On whether he’s out there to break his opponent’s will:

That’s what he does. He’s showing (the veterans), ‘This is how I do it.’ And what they’re seeing, right, is ‘Hey, look at that.’ They’re excited to watch some of the things that go on. I’ve seen it in every room. And here I got more than one. And that’s beautiful because they look forward to analyzing the tape, for more than just, ‘Did we get it right? Did we get it wrong?’ Analyzing footwork, where I put my hands … all that other stuff. Which makes watching the film, in some respects, fun, because there are so many exciting things going on.

One thing I’ll say about (Quenton) is he’s not a cheap player. I’m really glad people haven’t painted him that way. There’s no way that he’s cheap. He doesn’t play beyond the whistle. He doesn’t put his hands in guys masks, he doesn’t hold guys, because he doesn’t have to. And that’s what is beautiful about how he plays. He plays within the framework of the game. He plays up, he plays physical. And he’s just explosive.

» How Nelson has helped veteran left tackle Anthony Castonzo improve:

Castonzo’s actually altered his game to help Quenton be more efficient, which is a tremendous thing for a veteran like that, especially a left tackle, to alter your game to a rookie. He understands that, and he’s bought in: how he sets will affect Quenton, which will then affect (Ryan) Kelly, which… and so on and so forth.

Anthony has done a much better job this year of finishing plays, and I think that goes across the board. That’s one of the things that was lacking (in the past).

He did it the other day (vs. Miami), he was peeking around in the middle of a block, and it was in the middle of a play and I said, ‘Stop the film!’ I said, ‘Anthony, what are you looking for?’ They wanna see what’s going on. If you’re looking over there, you’re not finishing your guy. You don’t need to be a spectator. You need to finish. If you’re done with that guy, go find another one. That’s the attitude these interior guys are really getting.
» On whether Mark Glowinski is one of the best-kept secrets in football:

I don’t know if it’s a secret anymore. I get calls from all over the league, my fellow coaches, and the first question they ask is, ‘Where’d you find 64?’ It’s usually calling about some scheme, a team we played, whatever, or to share some thoughts. ‘Boy you got a good one in 56 (Nelson), but where’d you find 64?’ Like, right away they transition into Glowinski. He jumps off the tape because he’s faster than any of them, to be honest with you. He’s the fastest guy I got, flat-out running. And when he plays, he sometimes looks like the Tasmanian Devil out there. He was once a secret, and again, I credit Chris Ballard and his crew for finding that and knowing that there was something there.
» How Frank Reich is different from any other head coach he’s worked with:

Look, I’ve been around (Lou) Holtz, (Bill) Belichick and (Tom) Coughlin, I’ve been around some good head coaches, I’ve worked with some really, really high-respected head coaches, and I would say Frank does as good a job as any of those guys managing these people, knowing his players … He’s done a masterful job of keeping the o-line – which is usually looked at like a separate entity, (like) we operate in a bubble sometimes – (included).

The guy who leads the (blitz) meeting – I’ve been around a long time, and it’s always been the line coach – here, it’s the head coach. We all do our research and get ready, but Frank runs it. And if you can imagine what it’s like … it’s a different meeting. Andrew sits right in the front row, next to the center. Sometimes (if you’re an offensive lineman) you don’t see the head coach, don’t even interact with the head coach unless he’s yelling at you about something. Here, Frank runs the meeting twice a week. And we don’t go to him. He comes into the o-line room and stands in the front of the room. And you can’t take away the significance of that for linemen who, for years and years, the head coach has been (in another part of the building). He’s with them. He’s in the trenches with them. And it’s probably a result of him playing QB behind guys like that. And I love it.

Marvin Harrison Jersey

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2014 will be enshrined on Saturday. Each day this week, the Around the League crew will pick a player that we believe is also deserving of enshrinement.

Marvin Harrison is a first-ballot Hall of Famer that will be forced to wait an extra year for induction for some unknowable reason.

Other all-time greats have had to wait. Fran Tarkenton and Joe Namath both had to wait until their third year of eligibility. Mel Renfro made 10 Pro Bowls and had to wait 15 years. It happens.

Still, there’s no explaining the choice of Andre Reed over Harrison last year — other than voters who wanted to squeeze Reed in before it was too late. Even the Bills legend’s biggest backers would have a hard time making a sensible argument against Harrison.

It’s an honor to make the All-Pro first team. It says you are one of the two best receivers in the league in that given year. The Pro Football Hall of Fame already has named Harrison one of the best two receivers in an entire decade, choosing Randy Moss and Harrison as their first-team wide receivers from the 2000s.

It’s hard to know where to start when coming up with insane stats for Harrison. There was a four-year stretch where he averaged 117 catches, 1,580 yards and 14 touchdowns. And then Harrison gained at least 1,100 yards with 10 scores for another four years after that. He was first- or second-team All-Pro in all eight of those years.

Harrison still holds the record for receptions in a season with 143. Only Jerry Rice and Tony Gonzalez have caught more passes in the NFL than Harrison. But Harrison doesn’t often get mentioned in the same breath as those kind of players. Perhaps it’s because Harrison did things so quietly as a player. He never made headlines with his mouth like Moss or Terrell Owens — even his game was somewhat quiet. Harrison didn’t dominate receivers with his size or strength, but with smarts, route running, speed and mitts. Harrison seemingly was always open. He knew how to set up defenders, almost lulling them to sleep before exploding past them. Few receivers were better on the boundaries. Harrison’s hands snatched passes that looked headed out of bounds, and he had incredible body control.

It’s almost as if voters hold it against Harrison that he played with Peyton Manning. We see it another way. Harrison was the one teammate that could truly raise his game to Manning’s level. Their almost telepathic connection says a lot about Harrison’s football smarts. Not many players can be on the same wavelength as Manning, and back it up with a Hall of Fame skill set.

The mysterious story surrounding Harrison and a Philadelphia gunfight in 2008 has overshadowed his post-playing life. But the voters are not supposed to take any off-field factors into account.

Based on his playing career, Harrison is a no-brainer Hall of Famer, one of the 10 greatest receivers of all time. He should arrive in Canton next summer, even if it’s coming a year too late.

The latest Around The League Podcast visits with former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and discusses the best of the early training-camp surprises.

Marshall Faulk Jersey

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 22, 2019) – Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that Todd Gilliland will return to the organization as the full-time driver of the No. 4 Tundra for the 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) season. JBL, part of the HARMAN portfolio of legendary audio brands- and Mobil 1™, the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, are also both returning as primary sponsors on Gilliland’s Toyota.

Gilliland competed in 19 of 23 races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for KBM in 2018, moving into a full-time role once he turned 18 on May 15. Despite missing four races early in the season due to age restrictions, he finished 10th in the championship standings after posting one pole, 208 laps led, four top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Overall in two part-time seasons competing for the organization, the NASCAR Next alum has tallied six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes across his 25 starts since making his Truck Series debut at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in June of 2017.

“I’m excited to be returning to the seat of the No. 4 Tundra at Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2019 and looking to build on the momentum that we had going at the end of 2018,” Gilliland said. “Last year we definitely had some high points and low points, so my goal is to be more consistent throughout the season. After being so close a couple times last year, I’m confident that I’ll be able to find victory lane this year and once that happens more wins will follow. I’m ready to reward everyone at JBL, Mobil 1, Toyota and TRD for their continued support.”

“There was a lot of pressure on Todd last year early in the season after he had to miss four of the first six races due to age restrictions and then needed to get a win to become eligible for the playoffs,” Kyle Busch said. “I think maybe he was pushing a little too hard to try and dig himself out of that hole. While it was unfortunate that he didn’t make the playoffs, at the end of the year he did a much better job and if it wasn’t for a few unfortunate endings he should’ve won two races. We’re looking for him to continue the progress that he made at the end of last year and be a contender for the championship this season.”

In addition to his Truck Series schedule in 2018, the North Carolina native made a handful of starts in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the ARCA Racing Series. Gilliland went to victory lane twice in just three starts in the K&N Pro Series East; the season-opening event at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in February and again at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in April. In the ARCA Racing Series, he tallied one pole, two top-five and three top-10 finishes across four starts in 2018.

Gilliland captured back-to-back K&N Pro Series West championships in 2016 and 2017, collecting six wins each season. He also finished second in the 2017 K&N Pro Series East standings while collecting a series-high four wins. The 18-year-old has won a remarkable 39.2% (20 of 51) of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series races he has competed in combined between the East and West Series since he became the youngest winner in West Series history after going to victory lane in his debut as a 15-year-old in November of 2015. Gilliland is also the youngest driver ever to win an ARCA Racing Series race, winning his series debut in May of 2015 at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway, also at the age of 15.

The third-generation driveris the son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland and the grandson of 1997 NASCAR Winston West champion, Butch Gilliland.

Johnny Unitas Jersey

Jack Gilden, of Dunkirk Road, signed a contract with the University of Nebraska Press to publish his book, “Triumph and Disaster,” a story about the contentious relationship between legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas and his coach, Don Shula, during the 1960s.

In the book, Jack details how Unitas and Shula helped shape American culture through their successes and failures during a period in our country’s history that straddled social issues around the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and the sexual revolution. Jack first conceived of the idea when he was a 15-year-old student attending a journalism conference at the former Colts training complex in Owings Mills.

“That’s where I heard the great newspaperman, John Steadman, talked about how the greatest quarterback and the winningest coach in NFL history did not get along,” said Jack.

That idea resonated with him for decades so he set out to discover how two people who did not care for one another personally could manage such successful and intertwined careers. He interviewed numerous legends to understand the dynamic, meeting with Raymond Berry, Don Shula, Joe Namath, Jimmy Orr, Bobby Boyd, Sam Havrilack, Tom Matte, Gay Talese, Gary Collins, Frank Ryan, Bill Curry, Dan Sullivan, Charley Winner, and Jan Unitas.

In 2018, when the book hits shelves, you can read all about it. I bet if you see Jack out and about walking his dog, Angel, you can probably even get him to autograph a copy for you. That’s my plan.

Dumbarton Middle School held its Farewell Assembly for 8th-graders June 7 at Loch Raven High School. Many students were recognized for their achievements and hard work over the past three years; however, one student really stood out for his many talents and accomplishments. Congratulations to Griffin Mekler-Culbertson, of Overbrook Road, who not only attended every day of school for all three years, but also earned straight A’s in every quarter.

Rob Ambrose, of Lanark Road, the Towson University football coach, along with John Putnam, of Rodgers Court, who is the Towson Rec Council football commissioner, John’s son, Fisher, and Fisher’s friend, Alex Sebring, hauled a ton of junk and treasurers June 3 during the annual Rodgers Forge Dumpster Day, sponsored by the Rodgers Forge Community Association.

Rob, John, Fisher, and Alex were volunteers who worked their bums off to help 245 residents unload items from their cars that had been collecting dust in garages and basements all around the Forge. The items were sorted for donation, trash, or recycling in the hot summer sun of the Rodgers Forge Elementary School parking lot.

Happy 15th anniversary to Rachel Morris and Noah Melnick, of Dumbarton Road, who are celebrating the milestone with a Groupon adventure. Congratulations, you two.

Do you have some good news? Did you recently go on an exciting trip, receive a promotion, achieve a personal goal? Do you know someone who brings joy to our community and want to clue me in? I would love to write about it.

Peyton Manning Jersey

NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1976. The son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, and the older brother of New York Giants QB Eli Manning, Peyton is one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. He won an NFL-record five MVP awards, as well as two Super Bowl championships. Manning announced his retirement from the NFL in March 2016.Peyton Williams Manning was born March 24, 1976, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The second of three boys, Peyton is a son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, and the older brother of New York Giants QB, Eli Manning.Stoked by a competitive fire that surpassed even that of his two brothers, Peyton seemed destined to be a great quarterback almost from the time he could pick up a football. At Isidore Newman High School, Manning led the football team to a 34-5 record, throwing for more than 7,000 yards, and was largely viewed as the nation’s No. 1 football recruit in his senior season. Manning enrolled at the University of Tennessee in 1994, where his dominance continued. Over his four-year career, Manning torched opponents with a big arm and dead-on accuracy, setting an astounding 42 conference, school and NCAA records. In all, he passed for 11,201 yards, registered 863 completions and connected for 89 touchdowns. In addition to his physical gifts, the 6’5″, 230-pound Manning developed a reputation as a voracious student of the game.In 1998, the Indianapolis Colts selected Manning with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. For a franchise with a recent record of hard luck and plenty of losses, Manning was quickly embraced as a savior.His rookie year, however, was far from perfect. Moments of brilliance were often followed by bouts of struggle as Manning experienced some expected growing pains. While establishing NFL rookie records for completions (326), attempts (575), passing yards (3,739) and touchdowns (26), he also threw a league-worst 28 interceptions for a team that struggled to a 3-13 finish. Those early lumps, though, soon gave way to a level of success largely unmatched in league history, as Manning became arguably the game’s best quarterback and the face of a high-powered Colts team that regularly contended for the NFL’s top record. After winning his first MVP award in 2003, Manning went on to capture the award four more times (2004, 2008, 2009 and 2013), becoming the first NFL player ever to achieve that distinction. In addition, he became the fastest player to compile 50,000 career yards and 4,000 completions.For the first decade of his career, Manning was dogged by suggestions that he couldn’t win a big game. In 2007, he silenced critics when he toppled his longtime rivals, the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady, in the AFC title game, and then went on to beat the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. In the Super Bowl, Manning, who threw for 247 yards, was named the game MVP. In addition to athletic exploits, Manning has proven to be a valuable brand off the field. He’s been praised for his comedic timing and has appeared in several funny television commercials for Sprint, MasterCard and Gatorade, among other brands. In addition, he’s hosted Saturday Night Live.For the first 13 seasons of his career, Manning largely avoided injury and started every game at quarterback for the Colts. However, on September 8, 2011, his streak of 227 consecutive starts ended when he underwent a spinal fusion to repair a damaged nerve in his neck that had weakened his throwing arm. It was Manning’s third neck surgery in 19 months, and it cost him the entire 2011 season.It also cut short his career with the Colts. With their leader on the sidelines, Indianapolis posted the worst record in the league, securing the franchise the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, which they eventually used to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Intent on starting over with their quarterback of the future, the Colts released Manning. In March of 2012, the former Colts QB signed a new five-year, $96 million contract with the Denver Broncos.Returning to the gridiron for the start of the 2012 season, Manning quickly shrugged off any lingering rust and concerns about the state of his health. He went on to lead the league in completion percentage while guiding the Broncos to the AFC West title, and was named the AP comeback player of the year.As impressive as that season was, it was just a prelude to a record-shattering 2013 campaign. Manning opened the year by tying a league record with seven touchdown passes in one game, and continued to deliver huge numbers week after week. By the conclusion of the regular season, he had established new marks for touchdowns (55) and passing yards (5,477), numbers that easily earned him his fifth MVP award. The Broncos advanced to Super Bowl, but were beaten by the Seattle Seahawks.In 2014, Manning added to his list of personal records by surpassing Brett Favre with his 509th career touchdown pass. The following year, he broke Favre’s record of 71,838 passing yards in Week 10 vs. Kansas City, but was benched that same game for his poor performance. Slowed by a foot injury, Manning was seemingly headed for an ignominious end to a storied career.

Pat McAfee Jersey

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee has become an example for his teammates headed into the team’s bye week — and not in a good way.

Indianapolis suspended McAfee for one game on Wednesday, a little more than 12 hours after the 23-year-old was arrested for public intoxication. Police said McAfee took a pre-dawn swim in a city canal and told them “I am drunk” as he tried to explain why he was sopping wet in the Broad Ripple neighborhood, a trendy area known for its nightlife.

Officers say the second-year player from West Virginia had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit for driving in Indiana. He was released from custody just before noon, about six hours after his arrest.

According to the police report, McAfee was asked whether he was swimming in the canal and answered, “I am not sure.” When he was asked why he was wet, McAfee responded, “It was raining.” When he was asked where his shirt was, McAfee said, “In the water.” And when he was asked how much he had to drink, McAfee said, “A lot ’cause I’m drunk.”

McAfee was not released from custody before Indy practiced and was not in the locker room during the 45-minute media availability following practice. By then, radio talk shows and local blogs had turned McAfee into the butt of jokes.

Not surprisingly, the Colts found no humor in it. They’ve now had four players arrested on alcohol-related charges this year.

“I talk about it more often than the bye weeks,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “But that’s not the issue. What I’ve been doing hasn’t been enough. So the fact of the matter is we’ve got to get it straightened out.”

The Associated Press sent an e-mail seeking comment from Colts owner Jim Irsay and left two messages at the office of McAfee’s attorney, Jim Voyles.

Team president Bill Polian said the Colts decided to suspend McAfee for next weekend’s Houston Texans game, which could be a big loss for the Colts in a key AFC South game. McAfee could also face NFL penalties under the substance-abuse policy.

Police were called after a driver at a red light reported that a man with no shirt approached her car. The woman told police she feared the man was going to try to get in, so she ran the red light and called 911.

McAfee then told police he was waiting for a friend to get him but also that he planned to take a taxi home, the report said. He asked if he could walk home, but officers arrested him. They say he smelled of alcohol, his eyes were watery and bloodshot and his speech slurred.

Officers said they had to help McAfee stand up after giving him a breath alcohol test.

Some teammates were already offering assistance.

“Look, it’s my job as Pat’s friend and teammate to be there and support him, and I know that sounds like a company line, but it’s not,” receiver Anthony Gonzalez said. “It’s the truth. We have to be there to help him.”

Teammates also understand that another arrest has again damaged the Colts’ mostly clean-cut reputation.

In January, Colts receiver Taj Smith was stopped by police on suspicion of drunken driving. Smith spent last season on the Colts’ practice squad but was cut Sept. 4.

In August, backup defensive lineman John Gill was arrested for public intoxication after Indianapolis police found Gill passed out in a ditch. The charge was later dropped, but Polian said then that Gill would be placed in a roster category that would keep him inactive all season.

On Sept. 3, defensive tackle Fili Moala was arrested for driving while intoxicated, public intoxication and speeding.

And now it’s McAfee, a fun-loving young player whose Twitter bio reads in part “welcome to the partyy.”

“What coach says from the beginning of training camp is expected to be carried out,” left tackle Charlie Johnson said. “Nobody feels worse than the guys that got in trouble. But they hurt the team’s image and, hopefully, we don’t have anything else happen like this.”

Players insist there is not a drinking problem in Indianapolis.

“Look, we’re all human, we all make mistakes and we’d all like to take something back that we did when were younger,” running back Joseph Addai said. “It’s what you do afterward that makes the difference. The biggest thing is being a man, accepting your mistake and moving forward.”

Which is precisely what Caldwell intends to do Thursday before players leave town for the bye week.

“We talk about it, we talk about it often,” Caldwell said. “One time is too many and we’ve had a few more than we’d like.”

McAfee is averaging 44.7 yards per kick, has placed eight punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line and has had 11 touchbacks on kickoffs. Only two teams — the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons — have forced opponents to start drives deeper than McAfee after kickoffs.

T.Y. Hilton Jersey

Johnathan Joseph called T.Y. Hilton a clown in the lead-up to Colts-Texans, because Hilton called Houston’s NRG Stadium his “second home.”

Hilton responded by clowning the entire Texans defense, starting with his own clown mask.

Hilton caught five passes for 85 yards, including three catches on Indianapolis’ emphatic opening drive, helping the Colts storm out of the gate and into a lead that proved to be insurmountable. This was a road game, though, meaning he didn’t have a possible stash of Halloween costumes from which to source his headgear.

“I sent my trainers to go get it this morning and they went and got it for me at Party City,” Hilton said. “Can’t go wrong with Party City. I love Party City. … It was the last one.”

Potential for future endorsement deal aside, this is potentially flammable material. Wear a clown mask and perform as well as a whoopee cushion, and this mask becomes a dunce hat. That didn’t enter the mind of Hilton, though.

“I got a lot of messages last night with what (Joseph) said,” Hilton said after the Colts beat the Texans 21-7. “I said, you know what, let’s have fun with it. So it was something I did, I wanted to have fun with it, but now it’s over.

“I wanted to have fun. My teammates, they look for me for a lot of stuff. I wanted to go out here and set the tone. I didn’t want to be a distraction. Once I got here, I wanted to let them know I’m totally focused. Even though I did that and said what is aid, my focus is I’m here for y’all.”

His charade ended as soon as he hit the locker room door, but his motivation and focus lasted throughout the victory. He drew 10 targets from Andrew Luck, caught two more passes after the first drive and attacted plenty of attention, opening opportunities for Chester Rogers, Dontrelle Inman and Eric Ebron, among others. The result was a big win for a surprising Colts team that seems to be peaking at the right time.

“I was just doing my job,” Hilton said. “They gave me the lanes. Coach put me in great position to make plays and I was able to make the plays. But I wanted to go out there and let them know it’s going to be a long day for them.”

Last season’s head-worn novelty was a dog mask, worn by multiple Philadelphia Eagles to signify their underdog status on their run to Super Bowl LII. This year’s mask is one-off, according to Hilton.

“It might be the lucky charm, but nah, it’s done,” Hilton said. “It’s retired after today. … The mask is done after today. It might stay in Houston, or it might go back. I don’t know yet.”

As for the Colts? They might just be getting started.

T.Y. Hilton owns the Houston Texans — proverbially, of course.

The Indianapolis Colts’ receiver has averaged 103.2 receiving yards per game in 14 career tilts versus Houston. Hilton has earned 1,445 career receiving yards against Houston on 76 catches (needs 192 receiving yards to pass Reggie Wayne for most by a single player versus the Texans all-time, including playoffs).

Following a nine-catch, 199-yard performance against the Texans on Dec. 9, Hilton called NRG Stadium in Houston his “second home.”

Texans corner Johnathan Joseph didn’t appreciate the jab.

“Nah, man, that’s for clowns,” Joseph said, via the Houston Chronicle. “That’s for TV. That’s what they do. You put something in their face, anybody can say it.”

In two games against the Texans this season, Hilton has totaled 314 yards on 13 receptions, 24 yards per catch.

“Sounds good, it’s easily said,” Joseph said of Hilton’s comment. “I could easily say that, too. We could call the division our division since I’ve been here, last five out of eight years. It’s not our first rodeo, so we’ll be ready.”

Hilton has battled through an ankle injury but is expected to play in Saturday’s playoff rematch. The speedy receiver has been a catalyst for the Colts’ playoff run, and should again be the focal point in Houston.

If Hilton torches the Texans in the postseason, the receiver could once again claim lordship over NRG Stadium.

Andrew Luck Jersey

Early in the morning, in a little place called Joanie’s Cafe in Palo Alto, just outside the Stanford campus, Andrew Luck sits down for breakfast. He’s dressed in a blue T-shirt and shorts, with his trademark sea-captain beard.

If anyone recognizes him, they don’t say anything. The star quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts doesn’t look like a hotshot athlete at first glance. If anything, he looks like a slightly oversize version of any other Stanford student, which is what this school allowed him to be when he studied here. At an SEC or Big 10 school, an athlete of Luck’s stature would have been worshipped like a god everywhere he went. But at Stanford, he got to be just another teenager for a little bit longer.

“The nice thing about going to Stanford was that you didn’t live in a fishbowl,” he says. “You had a lot of license to sort of be a normal dude. You know, there were people that were doing way cooler things than playing quarterback on Saturday. Curing cancer. Stem-cell research. Composing incredible scores.”

He pauses. “It was very good, at 19 years old, not to have to deal with intense fame, per se. Because that can mess with your psyche, if you’re at a really young age.”

That was then. Now Luck is about to turn 26 and is on the verge of being one of the most famous people in America. Like his counterpart in the NBA, LeBron James, Luck was anointed for greatness by scouts at an absurdly early age, yet has managed to remain either on or even slightly ahead of the preposterous expectations set for him by the sports-media hype machine.

In his first three seasons as a pro, he’s smashed franchise passing records and advanced further in the playoffs each year. If form holds true, he’ll reach the Super Bowl this year. And even if he doesn’t win it all this year, it’s the expectation of just about everyone in the sport that sometime in the near future there will be a changing of the guard, and he’ll become the marquee player in an NFL that for 15 years has been dominated by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

But America isn’t the Stanford campus. For better or worse, this country cares a lot more about its sports stars than it does about composers or cancer researchers.

So when the public looks deeply at Luck, what are they going to find?

As great as he is on the field, Luck is maybe more impressive off it. He’s grounded, levelheaded, courteous and self-deprecating. He seems absolutely dedicated to his job, but he also has interests outside of football and perspective about its relative importance. Even while succeeding in one of the most unforgiving high-pressure environments you can find in America, he retains a bit of a philosophical attitude, wondering what it all means and what, if anything, he should do with the platform he’s won.

Luck comes across as a person who could accomplish anything in life, and that’s not restricted to football.

But right now, it’s all about football. Luck thinks about other things, from architecture to politics, but feels it’s not the right time to talk about any of them. “I don’t think it’s my job to talk about politics,” he says. “It’s not my job to opine on things. I understand as an athlete, especially as a quarterback, you have this platform where you can be heard by a lot of people. But I don’t necessarily want to be heard, unless it’s about football.”

Andrew Luck was born into pro sports. His father, Oliver Luck, was a star quarterback at West Virginia University, was drafted in the second round by the Houston Oilers in 1982 and carved out a career as a backup to the legendary Warren Moon.

He retired before Andrew was born, and in the Nineties he worked in Europe as an executive in the now-defunct World League of American Football. Andrew, as a result, spent a lot of his early childhood in Germany, where his father managed teams. At one point, Oliver worked alongside another ex-quarterback, former Washington State great Jack Elway, who had coached at Stanford and had a son, John, who was on his way to the Hall of Fame. Reached by phone, Oliver remembers Jack coming over to his Frankfurt home for a barbecue one evening.