INDIANAPOLIS — Consistently delivering big hits will get you attention, and that’s what caught Indianapolis Colts’ fans eyes when safety Clayton Geathers debuted in 2015. Consistently delivering big effort will endear you to the fans, and that is what has helped make Geathers a fan favorite and mainstay in the Colts’ secondary for the past four seasons.
In that time, Geathers has brought hard hits and playmaking ability in the box that people missed with the departure of former Colts safeties Antoine Bethea and Bob Sanders before him. Whether it’s blowing up a screen pass or jarring the ball loose from ball carriers, Geathers made it happen.
However, now it’s time for Geathers to look for the second contract of his NFL career, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
But he doesn’t want to go anywhere.
"I want to be here. I want to be a Colt,” Geathers said. “(I’m) just gonna handle this offseason with an open mind, communicate well and then just go from there."
Geathers said on Sunday, the day after the Colts' season ended with their 31-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs, that he was hoping to talk about his possible future in Indy with Colts general manager Chris Ballard later in the day.
“It was a special year," Geathers said. "It was a great year and there's a lot to improve on, there's a lot going forward."
Geathers burst onto the scene as a rookie after being selected in the fourth round by the Colts. He began earning more playing time in the second half of the season when veterans in front of him were dealing with injuries, and he wouldn’t give his starting spot back.
Unfortunately, Geathers’ hard-hitting, all-out style of play comes with its bumps and bruises, and injuries have made it tough for him to consistently stay on the field throughout his career. In four seasons, Geathers has missed 23 games due to injury, although 18 of those were related to the same neck injury that cost him much of the 2016 season and spilled into 2017.
Geathers was back in relative good health to begin 2018 and was able to play in 14 of the Colts’ 18 games, dealing with a concussion as well as neck and knee injuries at various points in the season. The Colts began maintaining his workload throughout the week in practice, keeping him as fresh as possible for gamedays.
The veteran safety had his most statistically productive season and saw the most action of his career this year. He finished third on the team in tackles (89) and chipped in a forced fumble, three pass breakups and two quarterback hits.
Geathers was part of a young secondary that grew leaps and bounds throughout the season as it learned the ins and outs of Matt Eberflus’ new 4-3 system. It was a scheme that would stifle offenses throughout the second half of the season, particularly, when it held opponents to just 16.8 points per game from Week 7 on.
The team as a whole grew together, fought through adversity and became one big brotherhood — and not the corny type that every team says they have, either. This locker room became legitimately close.
"Just the guys caring about each other. We came together — this is a close locker room,” Geathers said. “It's not like one group just hanging out with themselves; everybody hangs out together. That's the difference, and I hope we have that next year."
Geathers had a simple answer when asked if he wanted to play a role in seeing that camaraderie continue to build within the Colts' locker room.
"Yes, yes. I definitely want to be a part of that, so hopefully I am," he said.
With a brand new head coach and a roster full of young, unproven players, the Colts headed into the 2018 season with few lofty expectations from those on the outside, many of whom believed Indy would have one of the worst teams in the league.
The Colts started off the season with just one win in their first six games, but would end up winning 10 of their final 12 to earn their first postseason trip since the 2014 season, as well as defeat the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
"Everybody's growing up, everybody's learning the game. Just coming together, that's all we did this year and it's just gonna get better from here,” Geathers said. “Everybody wants to be apart of that, including myself."
As for Geathers’ immediate future?
"Right now, hit a home run with the family. Family time,” Geathers said. “That's huge right now."