Two Special Teams Captains Join Manning, Brackett
INDIANAPOLIS – Four Indianapolis Colts will serve as captains for the 2009 season, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell announced Monday.
In addition to quarterback Peyton Manning and linebacker Gary Brackett, who served as team captains for the Colts in 2008, kicker Adam Vinatieri and safety Melvin Bullitt also were voted captains by their teammates last week.
"We've always had two captains…and we would select special teams captains on a weekly basis. But this year we did it a little differently," Caldwell said.
In the third year of an NFL program that promotes leadership through the role of team captains, the Colts are one of 25 teams to appoint season-long captains on offense, defense and special teams.
After taking a team vote, the race for special teams captain was so close Caldwell decided to name two. When Bullitt, a third-year veteran, heard he had been voted a captain, he admitted to initially being "shocked."
"It is an honor," Bullitt said. "There are a lot of guys who could have (been named captain) and done a great job, so I'm happy to be in this position."
Bullitt is the youngest of the four captains, while Manning has been offensive captain for the Colts since 2002 and Brackett the defensive captain since 2006. Vinatieri is a 14-year NFL veteran and previously served as a special teams captain with the New England Patriots.
Caldwell said Vinatieri and Bullitt, "certainly do a great job in terms of our special teams," and expects them to provide the same type of leadership Manning and Brackett provide that is "vital" to the Colts.
On the field, captains are recognized by the "C" on their jerseys. Off the field, they are recognized as pillars in the locker room and in team meetings. Brackett said serving in the capacity is a big responsibility, and one that he values greatly.
"Anytime you are recognized by your peers as a leader, as a captain, someone they want to follow, is an honor," he said.
Brackett said by adding Bullitt and Vinatieri, the Colts captains represent the entire spectrum of players in the locker room and properly recognize special teams as "one third of the game."
"Without Melvin and without Adam consistently competing on special teams, we would not be able to get to our ultimate goal, which is the Super Bowl," he said.
As a captain, Vinatieri said he tries to "lead not only by example on the field, but in meeting rooms and trying to help the younger players who haven't been around as long.
"If you play in this league as long as I have, you probably know a few things worth passing along," he said.