INDIANAPOLIS — The fact that Devin Street has been with three teams in a span of two months means the third-year wide receiver knows the importance of being ready when his number is called.
That very opportunity presented itself for Street last week against the Tennessee Titans. The Colts, down three receivers in Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett and Quan Bray (who was placed on IR) needed Street to step in after being labeled as a healthy scratch each week since his signing on Sept. 21.
As the team's fourth receiver, Street didn't see a ton of passes come his way, despite playing in 39 total offensive snaps.
But the only catch he did make on the afternoon was huge.
The Colts, trailing by three points, 23-20, had gotten down to the Tennessee 28-yard line. Facing a 3rd and 13, the team knew it could count on an Adam Vinatieri field goal to tie the game, but, after a grueling loss the previous week to the Houston Texans, only a go-ahead touchdown on this drive would be an acceptable outcome.
Luck, lined up in the pistol with running back Robert Turbin to his right, took the snap on the 3rd and 13 play and had a quick three-step drop before taking a couple steps up in the pocket and delivering a pass across the middle of the field.
Street, was right there at the 11-yard line to make the catch, beating cornerback Jason McCourty, and going down at the Tennessee 8.
Twenty yards. First down Colts.
They'd cash in four plays later, when Luck found tight end Jack Doyle for a seven-yard, go-ahead touchdown, and would use a defensive score on the ensuing possession to escape Nashville with a 34-26 victory.
To his credit, Street said he was "not surprised" Luck would come his way at such a crucial juncture in the ballgame.
"I know it was a play designed that the ball definitely could come to me, and I knew that I had to be in the right spot for him," Street said. "I just tried to make a play for the team and advance the drive."
The play was the third time Luck had targeted Street with a pass on the afternoon, and was his first and only catch.
Luck had looked Street's way earlier in the fourth quarter on a 1st and 10 play from the Tennessee 46-yard line with 5:31 remaining, but the Pittsburgh product was popped hard and temporarily knocked out of the game.
But after all the time Street had spent in practice learning and perfecting the Colts' playbook — despite the fact he would be the odd man out at receiver each week leading up to the Titans game — he wasn't about to let this temporary bump in the road knock him completely out.
That toughness paid off about two minutes later.
"All of the time, all of the hours put in — 12, 13 hours a day — it really paid dividends," Street said of his preparation. "I was able to go in there and play confident and execute the gameplan."
With Moncrief and Dorsett expected to return Sunday in the Colts' home game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but with rookie wide receiver Chester Rogers inactive with an injury, Street will be active once again. But whether he suits up or not, Street said he'll be ready to go, as he was last week, if and when his number is called again.
"You always have to be ready for that, especially in this business," he said. "Injuries happen, guys get released, guys come and go, so you always have to be on your Ps and Qs because you don't no when your number's going to be called. But you better be ready if you really want to stay in this league."