INDIANAPOLIS – As
“Bjoern, WATCH OUT!” screamed
Werner, startled, turned immediately but quickly caught on to the Mathis joke.
Last week, as Werner was beginning a television sit-down interview, a few teammates doused the Colts first round draft pick with an ice bucket.
This is all part of the introduction to life in the NFL and Werner loves every second of it.
“The first week of NFL training camp, it’s really physical, longer days, a lot of meetings. It drains you, but it’s a lot of fun,” Werner said following Sunday’s afternoon practice.
“This is a job right now, and in college you’re like, ‘Oh I have to train and have to go to school.’ I’m going to keep going, just football, football, football and that’s awesome. You can focus only on one thing, I love it so far.”
After a week at Colts training camp, it appears that Werner is settling in on the field as well.
The Colts are working the 2012 ACC Defensive Player of the Year primarily at the RUSH linebacker position, behind Mathis.
“Right now the plan is just leave (Werner) at Rush, for the time being, because we’re taxing him pretty good once we get to our third-down sub package and we’re giving him a lot there,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “Right now just we’re going to leave him there and let him grow from there.”
During training camp, Werner has been very active in the Colts nickel packages and the rookie has gotten his hands on several pass attempts.
Keeping him at RUSH linebacker allows the Colts to “ankle weight” Werner a bit according to Pagano and it also gives the German a chance to study one of the game’s best.
“I love being in that position, it’s a lot of fun. And I have Robert Mathis there, I can learn a lot,” Werner said of the RUSH spot.
“He always tells me, ‘I was there last year,’ and he was a 10-year veteran last year, so he had to make that big jump too. It’s not easy, but you just want to do it and keep working. You’re going to improve every day if you want to. And never look back, just look forward even if you have bad days."
Werner admitted that he feels most comfortable with both hands on the ground but being in a two-point stance is beginning to feel natural to him.
One area where Werner is also feeling natural is the ability to approach veterans in the locker room, beginning with Mathis.
“I go straight to (Mathis). He’s a great guy, a great mentor and just a great person, so I can go over to him and talk to him any time and it’s a lot of fun,” Werner said.
“Maybe other teams the old guys would pull away, (say) to the rookies ‘Don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me,’ but him and Cory (Redding) are just in the locker room (and I’m) right next to them. We just talk every time, they make me feel comfortable.”
The veterans were once again front and center last week when Werner got up in front of his 89 Colts teammates and performed the song 99 Red Balloons in German.
Just another rookie moment for a player that could not be happier to playing in the NFL.
“It was alright, didn’t get booed,” Werner said of his vocal performance. “I got some claps, but still people were a little shocked. It was good though.”