Colts Rookie Running Back Excels In Preseason Opener
INDIANAPOLIS – Donald Brown did not wait long to show the Indianapolis Colts what he is capable of.
He waited until the first series of his career, to be exact.
The rookie running back displayed the type of electricity and elusiveness in the Colts' preseason opener that led the team to select him in the first round of the NFL Draft this past April. Brown finished Friday night with five carries for 58 yards, all of which came in the second quarter.
After starting running back Joseph Addai played in the team's first two series, it was Brown's turn. The rookie entered the game and made his NFL debut at the 11:45 mark of the second period.
On the first rush of his career, Brown bounced up the middle for 11 yards and a first down.
On the next play, the coaching staff called Brown's number again and he went down the left side for another six yards.
And on the play after that, Brown produced the highlight of the night, rattling off a 38-yard run in which he avoided one Viking defender, broke a tackle from another and brought the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd to its feet.
"Donald did a nice job there," Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "He ran a trap that popped open, and he was able to make a sizable gain. He showed a nice spark in there, and we are happy to see that."
Despite his coach's praise, Brown was quick to shift the focus to his teammates after the game.
"The entire offensive line did a great job of blocking and the wide receivers did an awesome job of blocking down the field, so I give them a lot of credit," Brown said. "They made my job a lot easier."
After two weeks of two-a-days against his teammates at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Brown said it felt good to play football against a team with a "different colored uniform."
That new experience also brought a few nerves, but nothing Brown was not able to shake off once he got on the field.
"Once the first play was over I was able to calm down," he said.
Rookie quarterback Curtis Painter, who led the second-quarter drive in which Brown rushed for 58 yards, was impressed with his teammate's rushing ability in his first game.
"He had some great runs on that drive," Painter said. "He's going to be a great back, and I think you'll see a lot of that. It really helps out a lot when he is doing things like that and being successful."
The Colts' offensive linemen also thought the rookie stood out in his cameo appearance Friday night.
"He runs hard," offensive lineman Tony Ugoh said. "It's fun to block for someone who runs like that."
After signing with the Colts just before the start of training camp, Brown said he has received a lot of help from his fellow running backs and coaches.
"They've really helped expedite the learning curve," he said.
On Saturday, Brown and the Colts will participate in an afternoon practice at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center before heading back to Terre Haute for the final three days of training camp. With less than six days until the team's next preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Brown knows the importance of building on his successful debut.
"You just want to build on it," Brown said. "You learn from your mistakes and move on. What happened this week, won't matter next week. So you have to just keep going out there and proving yourself."