Colts' History with Undrafted Free Agents Contributed to Grady Signing with Team
INDIANAPOLIS – Adrian Grady said he knows a good opunity when he sees it.
And the way he sees it, if he can take advantage of his current situation, there may be no better opportunity.
Grady (6-feet-1, 290 pounds), who along with 14 other collegiate free agents is trying to make the 2009 Indianapolis Colts roster, attended the University of Louisville, and after being considered by many a draftable prospect went unselected last month in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Shortly after the draft, he signed with the Colts.
The reason, he said, was simple.
If he makes it, he has a chance to be part of something special.
"The last (10) years I think the Colts have won more games than any team in the NFL," Grady said recently during the Colts' 2009 rookie mini-camp, a three-day event held at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in early May.
"I get to play with (nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback) Peyton Manning and I'm only two hours away (from Louisville). I just had a child in December, so this is really a good opportunity.
"I'm hoping and praying to be a part of this team."
Grady, who played four seasons at Louisville, is one of several defensive tackles added to the roster in recent weeks, a period of time in which the team has added significant depth to the spot. The team selected Fili Moala of Southern Cal in the second round of the draft, and also added Terrance Taylor of the University of Michigan in the fourth round.
Colts president Bill Polian said while Moala is a more traditional Colts-style tackle, Taylor was added as the sort of prototypical nose tackle the team often hasn't had in recent seasons.
Shortly after the draft, the Colts re-signed defensive tackle Ed Johnson, who started 16 games as a rookie in 2007 before being released after one game last regular season. The additions came at a position that already features Eric Foster, Keyunta Dawson, Dan Muir and Antonio Johnson, with Foster starting 11 games as a free agent rookie last season and Dawson starting 14 games in his second season.
The ability of Johnson and Foster to contribute as undrafted rookies is hardly unusual around the Colts, a team that is not only one of the NFL's best-drafting teams, but one that has a reputation as one of the league's best franchises utilizing collegiate free agents.
Melvin Bullitt, Eric Foster, Gary Brackett, Dominic Rhodes and Josh Thomas all have signed with the Colts as collegiate free agents in the past decade, with each of the five playing significant roles during their careers. Brackett, the team's starting middle linebacker, also is the defensive captain, and while Rhodes recently signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills, he rushed for more than 100 yards in Super Bowl XLI and was a valuable contributor from 2001-06 and in 2008.
Rhodes, Brackett and Thomas all played in that Super Bowl, while Bullitt and Foster each played key roles last season, starting extensively for a team that finished 12-4.
Grady said that sort of opportunity was a big reason he signed with the Colts.
"That's the best deal ever to me," he said. "I wasn't drafted, but I still have an opportunity, and if I can play, I will play."
Grady, who started 10 of 11 games as a senior, started 23 games at Louisville, finishing his career with 101 tackles, 18 of which were for losses, and he also had 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a batted pass. During his senior season, he had 41 tackles and two sacks.
Asked what he brought to the Colts, he replied, "Play-making ability."
"I do my job," he said. "I'm accountable. I know my role. I've started in the Orange Bowl and I've been on the scout team before. I know my role and I know where I fit in."