INDIANAPOLIS – Every time
The former Canadian Football League star set a Colts franchise record with 203 tackles last season, his first in the NFL.
Yet, the mindset that led Freeman from Division III Mary-Hardin Baylor, to Saskatchewan and finally to life on NFL Sundays has no signs of changing.
“I always keep that mentality of underdog, free agent, nobody expected too much out of me,” Freeman said upon arriving to Anderson. “I definitely keep that same mentality, going out there and learning as much as I can, being a sponge. I still learn from the coaches. I have a lot of growing to do.”
Finally, after a few more questions on the subject, Freeman opens up a bit when he looks back to a year ago when he was a virtual unknown to anyone outside of the Colts personnel and coaching staffs.
“Just driving up, I had a smile on my face. I’m back. This is what I love to do. I’m enjoying every minute of it. I’m happy to be here.”
Another camp attendee that is happy to see “Free” back in Anderson is Colts linebackers coach Jeff Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald walked off the field after the Colts 2012 preseason opener having to replace the previous year’s leading tackler in
Gone was the voice of the Colts new 3-4 defensive scheme and the guys behind Angerer had little-to-no NFL experience.
A year later, Fitzgerald marvels about what Freeman meant for the Colts last season in starting all 16 games.
“What did (Freeman) mean?” Fitzgerald says recalling the question.
“Wow. First let me say when he got here and everything that we did, all through spring, he got better. He grew by baby steps but his baby steps were always going in the right direction. Every week was better and better.”
“We didn’t have lulls with him. He’s a smart guy. He understands football pretty well. When we threw new concepts at him, it allows me quite honestly a little bit more flexibility in terms of techniques to use.”
True to his words, Freeman went back to Mary-Hardin Baylor this offseason and earned his degree in criminal justice.
When the Colts arrived to Anderson on Saturday, there was Freeman joining the likes of
It’s a far cry from move-in day last year.
“The confidence level is definitely a couple levels up,” Freeman said of the 2013 training camp. “Coming in, I kind of understand what’s going on. The year one to two should be a pretty good jump for me.”