EMERGING LEADER

Some players lead by example, some by words. Some leaders do it both ways, and that is the style of offensive guard Mike McGlynn. McGlynn joined Indianapolis in March, near the start of free agency. The fifth-year pro is emerging as a leader on the Colts’ offensive line.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Among many new things for Indianapolis in 2012 could be the structure of the offensive line.

The possibility of new faces across the offensive front might include a player who would be starting for a third team in five years, but he is one who appears to have found a home.

"When I first talked to Mike in free agency, his style of play was something that Coach Pagano and I were after for our offensive line," said General Manager Ryan Grigson, who scouted and helped draft McGlynn in Philadelphia in 2008.  "Mike brings that physicality that when I first came here I wanted to infuse on that side of the ball.   I wanted a big, tough, physical, smart offensive line."

Grigson joined Indianapolis in January and in the first few days of the free agency period that began in March, he brought McGlynn in from Cincinnati, where Pittsburgh product played after leaving Philadelphia following the 2010 season.

Grigson was a former lineman himself, having starred at Purdue.  Now in his first year as a general manager, but his 14th in NFL evaluation circles, Grigson knows what he wants up front as he and Head Coach Chuck Pagano start a new era in Indianapolis.

"Mike is one of those players who is a tone-setter," said Grigson.  "When he came here I told him, 'Help set the tone for this offensive line for the way we want to play.'  That's to play from snap-to-whistle and fight on every snap for four quarters.  We want people to know when they play us they will be in for a dogfight in the trenches.  That is the kind of guy Mike is."  

The majority of the current 90-man Colts roster is comprised of players new to the program.  As the team takes shape in the spring, leaders start emerging.  McGlynn fits that description, and he likes how the line's progress is coming.

"I think we've grown a great deal," said McGlynn.  "There are going to be a few things to learn in the new offense.  Right now, we're taking strides.  Every day we go out there, we have to make sure we're taking strides toward the goal, not backwards strides.  We've taken some good steps.  Hopefully, we continue in that direction."

McGlynn was the 109th player taken in the 2008 draft after a career at Pittsburgh.  The native of the Youngstown, Ohio area played in three games late in his rookie season, plus one playoff game as Philadelphia advanced to the conference title game.

McGlynn's third season found him opening 14 games at center.  The Eagles earned another playoff berth and had the NFL's second-ranked total offense.  Philadelphia topped the league with a 5.4 rushing average and ranked third in points per game (27.4).  That year holds fond memories for McGlynn.

"My first year starting in Philadelphia was a great part of my career.  It was a stepping stone for me starting that whole year," said McGlynn. 

McGlynn was waived by Philadelphia just prior to last season and was claimed by Cincinnati.  He was active for every game last year and started four contests while adapting to a new team.  After sharing brief time at right guard early in the season, McGlynn started the final three games and a playoff outing in place of the injured Bobbie Williams.

A truism in sports is that a camera does not blink.  Every action is recorded and is scrutinized by inquiring eyes.  For McGlynn, Grigson was watching in his new post in Indianapolis, and it prompted a relocation for the lineman.

"This year when I put on the tape of Cincinnati, I saw a guy (McGlynn) playing guard who looked athletic, who finished every play through the whistle, not to the whistle but through the whistle," said Grigson.  "Mike is one of those guys who have a lot of grit and determination."

That style of play is symbolic of McGlynn's home area around Youngstown.  He was a two-way star in football, while earning all-conference notice in baseball.  McGlynn redshirted his first year at Pittsburgh, then started the final 43 outings of his 47-game career with the Panthers.  Three times he earned All-Big East honors, including first-team all-conference and third-team All-America citations in his final year.

McGlynn believes he has earned everything along the way. 

"I've never been a guy who ever has had anything handed to him.  I've known that even growing up," said McGlynn.  I've always been that type of guy.  Whatever is in front of me, I'm going to get the most of it. 

"I come from a hard-working, blue-collar family. … We've had to go out and work for everything we had.  Both of my parents while I was growing up, and my grandmother, they did a great job of instilling the hard work and discipline in me.  I owe all of my success not only to the people around me in my life now, but my parents, Mike and Terry, growing up and key figures like my grandmother, Elsie.  They instilled good qualities in me.

"Coming from my background in Youngstown, Ohio, it's a steel mill area that is a hard-working, blue-collar city. … It's (Youngstown) like a little Pittsburgh.  Philadelphia is the same way, full of hard-working people." 

Grigson sees talent in McGlynn and knows he is able to play both guard positions and at center.  Grigson values McGlynn's ability and approach.

"In evaluating him, I see a player who has made strides every year in the NFL.  He's big.  Mike weighs 315, 320 pounds and has played every position along the line, which is invaluable," said Grigson.  "He's smart and a student of the game.  In the meeting room, I think the coaches feel like they have almost another on-the-field coach and a leader.  Mike's the type of player who gets respect because of how he performs.  He's not afraid to step up and say things to get everyone back to center in terms of the focus it takes to be a cohesive and tough and physical offensive line. 

"Mike always has been a blue collar guy, but I think he's a sneaky athlete.  People kind of lump Mike McGlynn into this 'over-achiever, blue collar' guy.  I see him better than that.  Mike has those traits.  He is a no non-sense player who has natural leadership ability.  Mike is great for our linemen."

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