INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Hinton played with the Colts from 1983-89 after arriving in a trade from Denver. Hinton left Indianapolis in a trade with Atlanta in 1990, and he was one of the most decorated Colts offensive linemen ever. Debuting on the All-Rookie Team, Hinton went on to multiple All-Pro and All-NFL selections, and he was tabbed for six Pro Bowls. Hinton looks back on his Colts career:
Who was the opposing head coach you least liked to face?
“Don Shula (click here for video) was the coach I least liked to play. His teams were ready every time, and he had such a sideline presence that impacted the game. They were tough, but we had some moments against them.”
What was your favorite road stadium to play in and why?
“It was Rich Stadium in Buffalo. You have to respect their fanatic fans. They had some good teams and players to cheer for, and they got behind them. It almost seemed like a college setting.”
What opposing player did you respect the most and why?
“Bruce Smith and Richard Dent (click here for video) were players I respected a great deal. Both were challenges compete against, and they played with class.”
Who was the NFL player you wanted to meet the most before you made the league and why?
“For me, it was Walter Payton. Growing up in Chicago I couldn’t help being a Bear fan and idolized Walter.”
What was your most memorable Colts game and why?
“It was the game against the Broncos on Halloween night in 1988. It was an offensive lineman’s dream of running the ball down the throat of your opponent. Eric Dickerson (click here for highlight pictures) ran for four touchdowns by the middle of the second quarter. We had a huge lead at halftime and never let up. The crowd was into it with the game on national TV.”
Who was the toughest teammate you had and why was he the toughest?
“Ron Solt. Ron was the toughest because he played through pain. If he was upright, he was playing. You really liked and respected a teammate who was as dedicated at Ron.”
What was the hardest thing you ever had to do in a game?
“Any time playing at Rich stadium against Bruce Smith and it’s third-and-long with no help whatsoever. It happened more times than I cared for, and it by far was the hardest thing in a game for me!”
What was the hardest thing about playing on the road?
“Playing on the road was tough because you had to pull from within for motivation. You had no help from the 12th Man. It was you and your teammates.”
What was your favorite road win?
“We won by a big score (40-21) in 1987 in Miami, and it was the first time I had been on a winning team down there. Their stadium was brand new, and it was a great way to break it in. As usual, the sun was out and we had a great day running the ball.”
What did your jersey number mean to you?
“My jersey number (75) was a carryover from college.”
If you didn’t wear your favorite number, what number would that have been and why did it mean something to you?
“Number 75 was the only number I had in college and throughout my NFL career. I had no second preference.”
What was the most fun thing about training camp?
“I never found anything fun about training camp. It would not have been worth the time trying to do so.”
What was the toughest thing about training camp?
“Being away from home was the toughest thing. You see camps now that run about three weeks because players practice a lot in the spring. We used to break in the spring and then camp was about five weeks long. Your summer ended early, and camp went a long time. We were only about 50 miles from home, but it might as well have been 500.”
What advice would you give to players heading into the NFL?
“I would tell all players to save their money and savor the moment. It goes by quickly! If you handle the opportunity correctly, you’ll have memories instead of regrets.”
If you could pick three people to share a meal with, who would they be and why would you include them?
“My choices would be Muhammad Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King and Jackie Robinson. All three men were willing to make sacrifices for what they believed in. In one case, Dr. King, the ultimate sacrifice was made.”
If you could pick one historical figure to meet, who would it be?
“Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a man of conviction, a man of peace.”
What was the best prank you played on a teammate?
“I once announced over the airplane PA system that a club official needed to bring some donuts to the back of the plane for the players. It was only an innocent prank.”
Which of your head coaches gave the best pre-game speech?
“Ron Meyer gave the best speeches. After his first one, any time after that his crying wasn’t a surprise.”
Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it and why does it mean something to you?
“I loved, ‘Pee on the fire and call in the dogs. This hunt is over.’ It was one of Ron Meyer’s, and I’ll never forget it.”
What is the best college uniform and why?
“I like whatever uniform Oregon wears.”
Who is the opposing head coach(s) you find always had his team prepared the most thoroughly?
“Don Shula’s teams always were ready to play. You had to be at your best to get them. We were able to do so a few times, but not too often. They always had a lot of fight, and their concepts were solid.”
If you could have played under any head coach in history (even beyond the NFL) for whom you didn’t play, who would it be and why would you want to play for him?
“I would have wanted to play for Tony Dungy. His temperament, I respected, and there were other things, too. He’s the type of coach and person you would want your son to play under. You can’t say that about many coaches.”
“My first college game was at the ‘Big House’ in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It made an impact on me and became my favorite stadium. It was so impressive to see 100,000 people at the games.”
What are some of the strangest or funniest sideline moments you remember?
“Among a few, an unnamed teammate who I really liked and respected, needed to change his pants after having an accident. You don’t forget those things, but I won’t say who it is.”
What was your favorite team growing up and why?
“No question, ‘Da Bears.’ That Saturday Night Live skit nailed it perfectly. They were physical and tough, and that reflected the city. They always had characters in uniform, too.”
Who was your favorite NFL player growing up and why?
“It was Dave Casper (click here for footage of 1977 Double OT win over Colts) of the Oakland Raiders. He was a great tight end who was a smart guy. You looked for him when the Raiders were on TV.”
Who is the best pure athlete you have had as a teammate in Indianapolis?
“Without a doubt, Eric Dickerson (click here for video). Eric was a talented and pure a runner who has ever played. When it looked like he had nothing, the scoreboard read, ‘Second-and-five.’ He had that special gear, and he was more physical than he ever was given credit for. His first-year induction into the Hall-of-Fame says it all.”
What do you remember the most about Colts fans?
“I remember the warm, Midwestern welcome upon our arrival in 1984. We had great fans who stood behind us. I still love coming back and seeing them. They are very loyal.”