INDIANAPOLIS – What was a year of excitement for many Colts players was one of utter frustration for Pat Angerer.
Angerer topped the Colts in 2011 with 146 tackles, a total that ranked fourth-most in the NFL, and he approached 2012 with an eye to continue a quick career start.
Angerer's season was altered quickly when he broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot in the preseason opener. It was an injury that nagged Angerer the entire year.
"It stunk when I got hurt on the first play of preseason," said Angerer. "I wasn't back as quickly as I would have liked. It was part of being injured. I pushed it a little bit. It ended up not really being healed, and I had to fight through it."
For a player that never had missed an NFL game and who competed in 43 games at Iowa, being out of commission was beyond tough.
Angerer was able to take 340 snaps over 11 games. After 27 starts over his first two seasons, Angerer opened but three times last year.
When he suffered the injury, the club's medical staff told him he likely would be back in six weeks. Angerer thought four weeks would be more like it. He returned for the club's October 21 game with Cleveland.
Angerer gutted his way through the rest of the season, starting the final three weeks and in the playoff game at Baltimore.
Angerer pushed to return and competed to his fullest. Interim head coach Bruce Arians noted his "warrior" nature and estimated no player in the locker room garnered more respect than did Angerer. Every player held the utmost respect for Angerer's grit.
"It (the frustration) was a 10 (laughs) on a scale of one-to-10," said Angerer. "It was really, really frustrating. Guys have played with this injury before, but just not being able to play like I know I'm capable of was very hard. The trainers did their best. Coaches gave me a chance to play and compete.
"The staff worked with me, but still I wasn't me. It was frustrating. I'm glad it's in the past. I'm going to get this thing healed, move on and get better."
Angerer especially appreciated the support he got from teammates.
"Guys understood the injury," said Angerer. "The team was so close and we respected each other. We all knew what we were battling. We were willing to go to bat for each other for whatever we were going through personally."
Angerer's 57 tackles ranked fifth on the team, and he added seven more stops against the Ravens. He now continues rehabilitation almost daily.
"I'm coming in every day during the week," said Angerer. "I like having a purpose. I hate being at home, so I like coming in for the environment. It's good for healing, and I enjoy coming in, especially in the weight room.
"A lot of people have overcome things a lot worse than this. I don't like the year I had, obviously. From a team standpoint, we played well. I think I improved my play physically, but injuries held me down. It's nothing I can't come back from."
No timetable is being applied for the recovery process. Players are able to use facilities now for conditioning. Those, like Angerer, who need medical attention get it. Practices will not start until later in the spring.
"It's probably going to be awhile before I can start running and really competing," said Angerer. "I was able to get the defense down mentally, so that will help. I know the defense and can ease my way back into it. Thankfully, I know a little bit."