INDIANAPOLIS —Deyshawn Bond's story, at least when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts, didn't stray too far from those of dozens of other undrafted rookies hoping to ultimately find their way onto a regular season NFL roster each training camp.
Bond, a Cincinnati product who played his high school ball not far from the Colts' Indianapolis headquarters at Warren Central High School, originally hoped his size, versatility and work ethic would eventually be enough to warrant a spot by Sept. 10, when the team opened up its regular season on the road against the Los Angeles Rams.
Then came the team's joint training camp practice Aug. 10 with the Detroit Lions.
Ryan Kelly, the Colts' first-round pick last season, went down with a foot injury and wasn't returning any time soon. With veteran backup center Brian Schwenke already on the PUP list, also with a foot injury, head coach Chuck Pagano called on Bond to step in with the first-team offense at center.
He hasn't moved since.
After originally hoping Kelly could rest and rehab his foot for a couple weeks and return by the Rams game, Pagano told reporters on Thursday that the Alabama product will go under the knife, causing him to miss at least the start of the season.
And although the Colts will continue to search for options on the waiver wire and in free agency, it appears the starting center job will remain with Bond heading into Saturday's second preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
After all that, though, Bond said he won't change a thing.
"Every day I come out here and work my best to get better at the little things," Bond said on Thursday. "If an opportunity comes I'm going to take that chance and perfect everything I can."
Bond got the start in his first-ever NFL game last Sunday against the Detroit Lions, and ended up playing 32 total offensive snaps, as well as two snaps on special teams, in the Colts' 24-10 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium.
For his part, Pagano said he thought Bond "responded" to the hefty challenge.
"It wasn't too big for Deyshawn," Pagano said. "He went in and did a nice job. All of the things that we were nervous about – pre-snap stuff, poor snaps, communication, false starts, things like that – that was clean."
But, like any other rookie playing in the game, Bond also had his share of mistakes. At times, Pagano said, the Detroit defense brought "some stunts and twists" up the middle, creating hits on the quarterback — things that will just happen from time to time, rookie or not.
The overall feeling for Bond, however, was that the Lions game was a terrific learning experience.
"I understand my fundamentals and techniques are the most important things when it comes to fast movement and seeing what the defense is doing," he said. "So, just going out there and trusting myself and being confident in myself, knowing that my teammates are always there to help me. It definitely helped me play better the next coming up game and just having the experience now will help me move faster and be more confident in what we are doing."
Now the task for Bond is to take what he learned last Sunday and apply it on Saturday against the Cowboys.
And while Thursday's news about Kelly's surgery certainly adds to Bond's plate, at least for the immediate future, he is working on the assumption that he is still an undrafted rookie trying to make the final roster.
"The coaches will make the call when that time comes," Bond said. "But for now, I'm just coming out here every day, and like I said, working on my technique and on my fundamentals to help out the team."
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