INDIANAPOLIS— This weekend’s matchup with the Arizona Cardinals holds a special meaning for Colts cornerback
From 2009-2012, Toler was a member of the Cardinals secondary and during that time he forged a close relationship with All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
In this 2010 story from the Arizona Central, Fitzgerald expanded on his friendship with Toler.
"He went to a college that most of us still haven't heard of," teammate Larry Fitzgerald said. "I've been looking for it on the computer, and I still can't find it. St. Paul's? I thought that was a homeless shelter in Phoenix."
Fitzgerald was only joking. He loves Toler, who has become one of his closer friends on the team.
"The first day he got here, he comes up to me and says, 'It's great to meet you, and I look forward to competing with you,' " Fitzgerald said. "You have to cheer for a young guy like that.
Come Sunday, the two will be on opposite sidelines with Toler itching to get back on the field to line up across from his good friend.
Toler has missed the last three games with a groin injury but after practicing on Monday, the new Colts cornerback feels optimistic about returning to the starting lineup.
In his four seasons in Arizona, Toler played 13, 14 and 11 games along with missing the entire 2011 season with a left knee injury.
“It’s just a process that you go through,” Toler said earlier this week to “Voice of the Colts” Bob Lamey of rehabbing from injuries.
“I’ve been dealing with injuries quite a bit since I’ve been in the NFL. It comes with the territory of playing football, playing a high impact sport that you have to go full speed every play. Injuries are going to happen but it’s just how you bounce back from them. I try to lean on the sideline, get all my mental reps and try and help the guys out as much as I can.”
This weekend was certainly circled on Toler’s schedule when the 2013 slate was released in mid-April.
While the Cardinals have brought in an entirely new offensive system, knowing the tendencies of specific Arizona players is where Toler can help out the Colts this week.
“I think I have a pretty good stranglehold on the concepts and what that team is trying to do to you as far as the players,” Toler said.. “They have (Bruce Arians) over there so I think the guys in the locker room pretty much know his style—they want the big plays.
“When I was there they were a chippy team, take the check downs. Now, it seems they are more of a big play team. As far as telling them personnel, what they can expect from guys on the offense and Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Ryan Williams, Michael Floyd, I’m very hands-on in the film room.”
Of course there’s one particular Cardinals skill player that Toler is looking forward to seeing this weekend.
“Larry is an exceptional guy on and off the field,” Toler said. “He’s a vet in the game just like Reggie (Wayne) is here so they’ve been around the block a few times. He catches the ball when it comes his way. He’s a strong-handed guy, attacks the ball well.”
Toler is hoping to take all the mental reps over the past month and put those into use on Sunday afternoon.
As a former defensive backs coach, Chuck Pagano knows how important facing the Cardinals is to Toler and he’s hopeful to have him back in the starting lineup.
“We are all keeping our fingers crossed. (Toler) was back at practice (Monday), took some reps and looked pretty good,” Pagano said earlier this week.
“I think we all feel like Greg will be back. Obviously a big game for Greg going back and playing against his former team so fully anticipate him being ready for the game.”