Colts Announce Signing of 13 Collegiate Free Agents
INDIANAPOLIS – Cornelius Lewis did the research.
And as a result, Lewis – a guard from Tennessee State – said he knew the Colts' history of being a very good spot for an undrafted collegiate free agent.
That was one reason he said he signed with the Colts this week:
That the Colts not only spend a lot of effort signing collegiate free agents, they historically have a good chance of making the team and contributing.
The Colts, who last weekend selected eight players in the seven-round 2009 NFL Draft, on Friday afternoon announced the signing of 13 collegiate free agents, a group that – along with the draft selections and about 10-12 others – began participating Friday in a three-day rookie mini-camp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
"I did a little research myself, and my father he stayed on it," Lewis said Friday afternoon. "They have a great past of free-agent guys coming in and playing and having long careers. I thought it would be good for me."
Lewis (6-feet-3, 324 pounds), who began his career at Florida State University, was among two offensive linemen signed as collegiate free agents by the Colts, with the other being guard Tom Pestock (6-6, 317) of Northwest Missouri State.
Pat Kuntz (6-2, 276), a defensive tackle from Indianapolis Roncalli High School and Notre Dame, also was among the collegiate free-agent signings, as were:
Defensive back Brandon Anderson (5-feet-10, 179), Akron; tight end Colin Cloherty (6-2, 245), Brown; nose tackle Adrian Grady (6-1, 290), Louisville; defensive back Brandon Harrison (5-9, 197), Michigan; linebacker Ramon Humber (5-11, 232), North Dakota State; defensive back Jacob Lacey (5-10, 177), Oklahoma State; punter/kicker Tim Masthay (6-1, 198), Kentucky; wide receiver John Matthews (6-0, 197), San Diego; wide receiver Brett McDermott (6-0, 201), Holy Cross; and linebacker Tyrell Sales (6-2, 230), Penn State.
Matthews caught 195 passes for 3,615 yards and 50 touchdowns in four seasons, catching 102 passes for 1,478 and 21 touchdowns this past season. McDermott caught 138 passes for 1,736 yards and 14 touchdowns in four seasons.
Cloherty caught 99 passes for 1,211 yards and five touchdowns.
The Colts also announced they recently signed two free agents from arenafootball2: offensive tackle Brandon Barnes and offensive lineman Kyle DeVan.
The Colts, a playoff team the past seven seasons, long have been one of the NFL's most consistent franchises, while at the same time focusing as much as any team in the league on signing quality collegiate free agents.
"That has been one of the great things about our system here, is we have a track record," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "Often times, people can give certain things lip service and not have anything to back it up, but we can point to so many guys within our organization who have come through and done extremely well."
Former Colts running back Dominic Rhodes, a 1,000-yard rusher as a rookie in 2001 and a 100-yard rusher for Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLI, originally signed as a collegiate free agent, as did defensive captain and starting middle linebacker Gary Brackett.
Melvin Bullitt, who started extensively at safety last season, signed as a collegiate free agent in 2007, and defensive tackle Eric Foster started 11 games as a free agent rookie last season.
Other veterans with extensive playing experience on the Colts' roster who began their careers as collegiate free agents with the Colts include:
Running back Chad Simpson (2008), safety Jamie Silva (2008), linebacker Jordan Senn (2008), offensive tackle Dan Federkeil (2006) and defensive end Curtis Johnson (2008).
"We're excited about the opunity these guys have, and I could tell they were extremely excited about it as well," Caldwell said of this year's collegiate free agents.