26 Jan Relationships Are Key To The Colts Defense
In an up and down season, the Colts defense consistently created opportunities. A close-knit group off the field, does that bond help them on the field? The players weigh in.
It doesn’t take long to notice something about the Colts defense. And the more time you spend with the players, the more obvious it becomes – that this is an extremely tight group.
They work together, play together, give back in the community together, and spend much of their free time together.
That’s just the way it is, says linebacker Jerrell Freeman. And it’s not just the defense.
“It’s just the culture of the Colts. When somebody has something, you’ve got to tell people no for them not to come. If you make an announcement in a room, everybody on the team is coming. So, you better be prepared. It’s just a great big brotherhood.”
Still, Freeman acknowledges that the defensive players are close. Real close.
“Everybody feeds off of each other, and everybody is just in it. Because we know we can’t do anything without the next person. And we’ve got great guys, like minded guys in there that understand that and know that we’ve got to do this thing together.”
But does that play out on the field?
Cornerback Darius Butler has no doubt it does.
Butler says it’s harder to create those relationships in the NFL. But that makes it even more special when you do.
“Somebody like Robert (Mathis) has been here for however many years. Another guy could be here for three months and be out of here,” he says. “So, it’s hard to kind of create that same camaraderie. But when you do, it’s just more invested into it, into football. You don’t want to let that guy down, it’s probably a close friend of yours. I think it plays a big role in it.”
The strong relationships he’s had with his Colts teammates are the key to communication and teamwork, says Freeman.
“Every once in a while in a play, he turns around, ‘Hey, I’m about to do this, so just cover me.’ I’m like, ‘Alright.’”
Something he may not be so quick to do for a different type of teammate.
“If there’s somebody else that’s been a (jerk), no. I’m not going to do that for you.”
That’s where culture and chemistry come into play.
Butler says he’s been fortunate to be on good teams, and he’s reminded of it often.
“I know a lot of guys around the league who will come here and be like, ‘Wow. This room is different. This team is different. You guys hang out with each other. You guys like each other.’”
Liking each other may not be everything, but as linebacker Robert Mathis says, it makes everything better.
“You’ve got to understand, I’m around these guys just as much, if not more, than my family at home. So, you’ve got to at least like the guy that you’re playing with. It helps at lot.”
For cornerback Greg Toler, there’s no question whether his teammates have his back.
“I love these guys and they’ll go to war for me.”
The brotherhood the players have built in the locker room, on the field, and outside the workplace will last a lifetime.
And it’s the foundation for a football legacy that could last even longer.