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Colts Newcomers Value Playoff Culture

Posted Jan 1, 2014

Intro: When the 2013 offseason began, Ryan Grigson could dangle a pretty enticing carrot in front of potential free agents. The Colts were coming off a playoff appearance in 2012 and had a core built for future success.



INDIANAPOLIS – As Ricky Jean Francois' contract came up last season, the fifth year pro had a decision to make on where his next stop would be in the NFL.

Jean Francois was coming off a Super Bowl appearance with the San Francisco 49ers and the feeling of wanting more was lingering.

In college, Jean Francois was the Defensive MVP of LSU’s 2008 National Championship.

Winning was what Jean Francois was used to and he had no intention of stopping that.

“You didn’t want to leave one successful team and not go to another. I understand that a lot people want to say it’s the money but the money comes. The money will come but the biggest thing is I wanted to go to a team that was still in the playoff hunt. I didn’t want to go somewhere where everything started feeling different,” Jean Francois said of his 2013 free agency.

“When I came up here, I saw Andrew Luck, saw (Ryan Grigson) going after big guys and then later on you see him go and get Trent (Richardson). I was happy to come here because you see our GM trying to go for multiple Super Bowls. To come here was a blessing and to keep winning was a blessing, too.”

 

Coming to a winning culture was a characteristic of virtually every Colts offseason addition this year

There’s right tackle Gosder Cherilus who after just one playoff berth in five seasons with the Lions, he’s back in the postseason in his new home.

“It’s extremely special,” Cherilus says of the playoffs. “That’s why you play the game. You play 16 games to just be where you’re at right now.”

Just like Jean Francois, Colts safety LaRon Landry is used to playing on the game’s largest stages.

Landry helped lead LSU to the 2004 BCS National Championship but at this level he hasn’t experienced the playoffs since his rookie season of 2007.

The suitors flocked towards Landry last offseason but there was one team that kept sticking in his mind.

“It was just a great fit, a football atmosphere,” Landry said. “I haven’t been to the playoffs since my rookie year. We put our work in and we are here now.”

When Trent Richardson was traded to the Colts on Sept. 18, his mind was racing with questions, many of which did not have the easiest of answers.

As Richardson has settled into the Colts culture, he realizes what is possibly on the horizon for a team, and player, that is used to winning.

“The first thing that comes to your mind is this is a playoff team,” Richardson says of the Colts. “They are always putting everything on the line to not only win it all this season but always building a franchise. It’s always been a promising team.”

No player in the 2013 Colts free agent class has been more forthright in talking about the opportunity to play in January than Darrius Heyward-Bey.

That’s something that had not happened for DHB until he arrived to Indianapolis this offseason.

“I had never been to the playoffs. I was close once, but it doesn’t matter in this league if you don’t go,” DHB said of his four years in the league.

“I knew this was a playoff team. They had the quarterback to get the job done and I believed in the coaches and the direction it was going in and we are going to the playoffs.”


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