New Colts Guard Andy Alleman Optimistic About Opunity in Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS – From afar, Andy Alleman liked what he saw.
As was the case with Adam Terry – like Alleman, a free agent offensive lineman who signed with the Colts earlier this off-season – there wasn't much of a decision for Alleman in February.
Alleman was a free agent.
He was looking for a better fit than he had had previously in his NFL career. And a team that made the Super Bowl last season wanted him.
Alleman, an offensive guard who spent last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, said that was as big a reason as any he opted to continue his career in Indianapolis.
The Colts have been successful, he said. Very successful.
So, what was there to not like?
"Obviously, this is a winning organization," he said recently during the Colts' 2010 organized team activities, which concluded on June 11 at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
It also was an organization that this off-season is trying to improve what for the last decade has been one of the most consistently effective offensive lines in the NFL.
While the Colts most often build their roster predominantly through the NFL Draft, this off-season they signed not only Alleman, but Terry, who spent his first five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Because the Colts are not yet in training camp, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said recently it's a touch too early to evaluate the tandem.
Still, Caldwell said Alleman and Terry are making strides.
"It's probably too early right now (to evaluate the duo)," Caldwell said. "We're still making certain that they have all the information they need to be able to perform well at their position. They're certainly moving in the right direction.
"I think we see some positives in what (they) bring to the table, and we fully anticipate that (they're) going to help us."
Caldwell said the addition of the pair will enhance the off-season competition on the offensive front.
"I think particularly on our line, I think it's going to be a very good, solid competitive situation," Caldwell said. "It's like my old high school coach would always say, 'Cream will always rise to the top,' so we'll see what happens."
"Certainly, what we're looking for is improvement. That's the key. We want to become a better unit overall, in all phases as a result of our work this spring and also in training camp as well."
Alleman (6-feet-4, 310 pounds), originally a third-round selection by the New Orleans Saints in the 2007 NFL Draft, did not play for the Saints as a rookie, then was claimed by the Miami Dolphins off waivers the following August.
He started four of 15 games for Miami in 2008, then was traded to Kansas City, where he played in nine games, starting twice at right guard and once at left guard.
After three teams in three seasons, Alleman said the Colts' consistent success – a league-high eight consecutive playoff appearances, six AFC South titles in seven seasons and two Super Bowl appearances in four seasons – had strong appeal.
"It's hard to find a more dominant team over the past eight years or so – a very consistent, Hall of Fame quarterback (four-time Associated Press Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning) and a solid coaching staff," Alleman said.
Mostly, Alleman said he liked the feel he had visiting the Colts, particularly how he believed he might fit in the team's offensive front. The Colts have a reputation for playing effectively on the offensive line without necessarily overemphasizing size, and Allemen said that was appealing.
"At the end of the day, I'm not a guy who's 330 pounds," Alleman said. "I think a lot of guys in the NFL feel that that's necessary. Other guys feel it's not. Based on their offense, and the size of guys and the personnel they've had the last number of years, I think it's probably a better fit."
Perhaps, Alleman said, as good a fit as he has felt in four seasons.
"To be honest, I know it's still early, but I honestly believe in my heart I honestly feel for the first time that I fit with what this offense is trying to do from the personnel group, with the guys that they use," Alleman said. "I just feel this as good an opportunity as I've had so far."
And Alleman said because he has "bounced around" in the NFL thus far, and because the Colts represent such a good opportunity, they also represent a particularly important one in his career.
"This is probably as good as it's going to get in the NFL," he said. "If I fit anywhere, this is probably the place. I've bounced around and I've taken it as it comes. Obviously, I'm at a fork in the road in my career. This is one of those things where it could turn into a great thing, or this could be the last stop."