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Daniel Adongo’s spirit and play impressing Chuck Pagano and teammates

Posted Oct 4, 2013

Intro: He might be on the Colts scout team but former rugby star Daniel Adongo is turning some heads on the practice field. An update on how Adongo is adjusting to life as an NFL player.



INDIANAPOLIS – A few weeks back, Chuck Pagano took a glance out at the Colts practice field and could not tell if his eyes were deceiving him.

It was a Tuesday, the players day off, yet Pagano saw someone working on pass rushing moves and hitting the team’s sleds.

As Pagano looked closer he quickly realized it was Daniel Adongo putting the extra work.

Adongo has barely wrapped up two months in the United States and he’s already making “phenomenal” strides in the game of football.

“If you watch the tape, (Adongo) gives our offense fits running the look team,” head coach Chuck Pagano said on his radio show last week.

“The guy has so much pride and wants to be a great football player that you just see him every single day he takes steps in the right direction into being a great football player.”

Adongo seems surprised to even be asked a question on why he’s spending five-to-six hours on the team’s off day inside of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

When Adongo arrived to Indianapolis following a 17-hour plane flight from South Africa, the former rugby star was about to leave his family behind, encounter a new sport and was in the United States for the first time in his 23 years of life.

Now that he’s called Indianapolis home for around two months, Adongo relishes the chances he gets to spend at the Colts facility.

“I feel like I need to perfect what I’m doing because No. 1--I want to be great in this sport. I don’t even consider that extra stuff, I just consider it part of my job, being on top of my game,” Adongo says.

“Secondly, I’ve got greatness in front of me in the form of Robert Mathis. I think to emulate that there has to be some certain steps you have to take and some sacrifices you have to make in order to emulate and do some of the sort of things that he does and even go further to surpass that.”

During nearly every one of the Colts 45-minute open locker room media sessions, Adongo is huddled near his locker dissecting his playbook.

Thanks to veteran leadership, an eager coaching staff and a dedicated pupil, a game that seemed so foreign to Adongo is beginning to become second nature.

“I’ve grown leaps and bounds in terms of my awareness of the game, how to use my skill set, my body better, understanding different plays and basically just having a better perspective of the game in general.”

The timetable for when Adongo might make his NFL debut has not been determined but his physical stature fits the bill for an elite pass rusher.

He’s put on nearly 20 pounds (Adongo is around 260 pounds) since arriving states side and his physical attributes aside, Colts players and coaches cannot say enough positive things about Adongo.

“He’s got a spirit about him that is really, really special. Our guys feel it. This whole building feels it. This organization feels it,” Pagano says of Adongo.

“Believe it or not, a ton of guys in our locker room feed off that spirit. It’s unbelievable. He’s an easy guy to want to like, to want to love and want to get close to.”


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