ANTOINE BETHEA IS HONORED, 'FACTS ARE FACTS' AND WEDNESDAY QUOTES
BETHEA HONOREDThe Indianapolis Colts took time on Wednesday to honor safety Antoine Bethea as USA Football, the sport's national governing body, and the NFL Players Association selected him to the 2010 USA Football/NFL Players Association All-Fundamentals Team.
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell was not surprised the two-time Pro Bowl safety had been selected for the fundamental skill of open-field tackling, pointing out Bethea's two-pronged approach to tackling that made him a likely choice for this award.
"Not a better choice could have been made than Antoine," Caldwell said. "He does a great job at his position. The particular award is for open-field tackling. He leads our team in tackles, and he's one of those guys that you can count on him being in the right place, at the right time, getting his job done.
"He's really a vicious tackler, but also one that is a very sure tackler, as well. Sometimes you don't get that balance. Sometimes you get guys that are very vicious tacklers that will miss from time to time. But then you have guys that both hit for some power and also are very, very sure tacklers, and that is indeed Antoine."
Twenty-six (26) NFL players (11 offense, 11 defense, 4 special teams) are chosen for this annual distinction based on an ability to consistently execute the fundamentals of their positions and for making a positive impact in their communities. The USA Football/NFLPA All-Fundamentals Team gives youth football players examples of how to properly play the sport and show concern for others off the field. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and NFLPA.
Employing core football fundamentals advances a youth player's performance and safety, particularly in the areas of blocking and tackling. USA Football teaches the game's fundamentals and inherent values through more than 80 annual training events and innovative football training resources employed by its members who reside in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Bethea, a fifth-year pro from Howard, allows the Colts to take chances up front by not allowing big plays if the ball carrier reaches the secondary. Through the Fight for Life Foundation, Bethea helps inner-city children make better choices with their lives. Through scholarship opportunities and funding for Christmas gifts, the foundation works with Indianapolis youth as well as those in Bethea's hometown of Newport News, Va.
As part of the honor, All-Fundamentals Team players will designate a youth or high school football program that will receive a $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football. Each player also receives an All-Fundamentals Team helmet trophy produced by Riddell, the official protective equipment partner of USA Football and the official helmet of the NFL.
"First off, I just want to say that I'm honored to be recognized on this team," Bethea said. "I'd like to thank my coaches and my teammates for always giving me their support. Like coach (Jim Caldwell) said, it's just an honor being able to be recognized as a guy who is out there and just playing the game the way it should be played and doing the things off the field, as well.
"I'm just trying to show the younger kids who are coming up and looking at us as role models the things to do and the right way and just have a clean nose and a level head and do the things you are supposed to do on and off the field. Once again, I'm happy to be honored, and I'll just continue to do the things that I do."
'FACTS ARE FACTS'
Colts players said Wednesday no one needs to point out the significance of Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. They already are aware.
A win means staying in contention for the team's seventh AFC South championship with two games remaining, at Oakland and versus Tennessee.
A loss would take them completely out of the AFC South race, leaving the team needing help to get into the playoff picture for a ninth consecutive season.
"Facts are facts, right," Caldwell said Wednesday. "It's a fact that we have to win it. Whatever you label it, however you call it, I think we all know what it is. It is a ballgame that is going to be tough. It is going to be hard. It is going to be difficult. The atmosphere is going to be such that it is going to be highly competitive, and there is a lot at stake."
"I've always just had a tremendous appreciation for that streak, but I do not think that everybody took time to realize just how amazing and impressive that it was. You see the other sports streaks or what all has happened in the time since 1992, it's one of those things, I think, when you say it or write it, '297 consecutive games,' it doesn't really do it justice. When you really think about him just being there for his teammates every single Sunday, that's what it really has been about. And it's what he's done with those games. He's been there for his teammates, and he's helped his team win a bunch of those games. It truly is amazing. I don't use that word a whole lot, but it is an amazing feat and streak. It's awfully impressive."-Colts quarterback Peyton Manning on what his thoughts were Monday evening when Brett Favre's consecutive starts streak ended.
"It was an incredible streak first of all. Those of us that have been involved with this game know the difficulty in being able to play that many games consecutively is something truly special. It really is a testament to the individual, Brett, who obviously had to play with some difficulty in terms of injuries and things of that nature, but he was able to fight through and certainly did a tremendous job of that all throughout the years. The unique thing is the fact that it did indeed end in Detroit and about 1.3 miles away from where (MLB's Cal) Ripken's ended, which I don't know if we would say was a coincidence or what, but certainly something that is fairly interesting. He has had a tremendous career and is a tremendous player."-Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell on Brett Favre's consecutive game streak ending.
"Jacksonville is going to be a tough game. It is going to be a playoff-type atmosphere. You have got to want to win. You have to put some hits on (Maurice) Jones-Drew. You have to do what you can do with (David) Garrard. He is a good player, and they have a lot of good players on that team. They know us and beat us last time. We just want to come out of that thing with a win. This is the perfect atmosphere for our type of team. We play hard in these type of situations, and we will treat it like every other game, but fortunately this will be a playoff atmosphere so there will be something added to it."-Linebacker Clint Session on playing Jacksonville on Sunday.