Cory Redding: A Leader On, And Off, The Field

Intro: One Colts player who is quietly turning in a much-needed strong start to 2014 is veteran Cory Redding. What does Redding’s presence mean to the Colts?

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INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano needed him, Arthur Jones wanted to be reunited with him, and now the young Colts defensive linemen can't get enough of his wisdom.

The man is Cory Redding, and his presence on, and off, the field has been invaluable to the Colts resurgence over the last three years.

Colts fans see Redding's constant energy on the field every Sunday but what they don't witness is the constant tutelage the 12-year vet provides younger teammates.

Redding is the most tenured player on the Colts defense and for a man who has experienced everything from a winless season (Lions in 2008) to the AFC Championship, he knows the importance of making sure all 53 know the end goal.

"I've been on teams where veterans didn't really pay attention or catered to the young guys. They saw them more as a threat and that hurt us in the long run because you isolate these guys, and when you really need them you don't know what you're going to get out of them," Redding says.

"I know once I invest my time into the young guys, I know it will pay dividends in the future because the more they feel accepted, the more they know that you got their back, the more they can trust you and you can trust them. When their number is called in the game, you can expect them to go out and make plays."

Undrafted free agent Zach Kerr is one of those guys who is all ears when Redding is talking.

Injuries along the defensive front have forced Kerr into a ton of snaps as a rookie and he credits the vet of the d-line room for making such a transition.

"He's just an A1 guy, a stand-up guy," Kerr says of Redding. "He's talking to me about a lot of different things from finances, how to deal with family, how to be a pro and just be an NFL player off the field, outside of Sunday's and outside of the practice field. His resume speaks for itself.

"When people think of the Colts, they think of a couple of people---Andrew Luck, Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne and Cory Redding. It's those guys we usually hear when you hear about the Colts."

In Redding's mind those mentoring duties extend off the playing field, too.

During Training Camp, when defensive tackle Montori Hughes' infant daughter fell sick, Redding knew where he was needed.

"I was at the hospital, and I was with him and his family, seeing his hurt and just hugging him and telling them that, 'We love him.'

"Those are things that help on the football field more than anything, that he knows your family is behind you and we got your back."

When the Colts chose Hughes in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, the rookie knew that Redding was about to be a big brother to him.

Dissecting film with Hughes is one thing, but what Redding did during that August trip to the hospital just showed the type of person the Colts have in 'C-Red.'

"He's meant so much, I can't even say how much," Hughes says of Redding.

"Every day I just come in and try to take a little something from him. I'm blessed to have a locker besides him. Every day I try to pick his brain a little bit."

As Redding's 11th NFL season came to a close back in January, he pondered the thought of retirement.

Those thoughts never came to fruition though, which the Colts defenders in the trenches thank greatly.

There was Redding back for another Training Camp, even breaking out the hair clippers for a team bonding session in Anderson.

His contract doesn't call for the constant taking under of wings he does with the Colts younger players, but Redding knows how fortunate he is to still be in an NFL locker room at the age of 33.

When the Colts take on Redding's former team today, No. 90 will assuredly be breaking down a huddle with all eyes and ears focused on his words.

"He's been a fighter," nose tackle Josh Chapman says of Redding.

"That's one guy we always look up to. You want to find somebody to get some energy from, it's him."

For the third year, Redding challenged Indianapolis students to attend class, work hard at their grades, respect others and have a good attitude.

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