INDIANAPOLIS —Eric Ebron turned 25 years old on Tuesday.
Just four years ago, at the ripe age of 21, the Detroit Lions selected Ebron with the 10th-overall pick in that year's NFL Draft, setting in motion all kinds of expectations — both internally and externally.
And in his four years in the league, Ebron has accomplished quite a lot, having caught the fifth-most passes by a tight end entering their age-25 season (186) in NFL history.
That's Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Kellen Winslow … and Eric Ebron.
But Ebron headed into this offseason, his first as an NFL free agent, looking for a fresh start. And it didn't take long at all for the Indianapolis Colts and first-year head coach Frank Reich to come calling.
After signing with the Colts on March 19, Ebron on Monday joined the rest of his new teammates for the first time for Day 1 of the team's offseason workout program, and said he's already appreciating the opportunity to start anew.
"It's been fun getting to meet new people," Ebron told reporters on Monday. "We sat here for about eight hours and talked offense – at least that's what it felt like. But it was fun being in a new spot, learning a new system, being with different people."
Ebron said Reich was quite the salesman when pitching his potential role in the Colts' offense, which already features a Pro Bowl tight end in Jack Doyle.
And while Doyle has proven to be a dependable pass catch catcher on more short and intermediate routes — his 80 receptions in 2017 were the second most by a tight end in a single season in Colts franchise history — Ebron, Reich has said, can be used more as a mismatch all over the field.
You want to cover Ebron with a safety or a linebacker? He has the speed to run by them. You want to put a cornerback against Ebron in coverage? He has the size and strength to get himself open.
Ebron said he's looking forward to exploiting those opportunities with Reich, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni and tight ends coach Tom Manning.
"That's what I do, yeah," Ebron said. "If (Reich) wants to do it then we're just going to take it head on and I'm going to listen to him as much as I can. Input a little bit of things and we're ready to bounce ideas off of each other. More listening to him obviously than me because he's done this way longer than I have. It's good to hear, it's good to see. He's very, very strategic and very, very offensive minded which helps people like me in situations of where you want to create the mismatches and you want to do the things that help you evolve and be great. That's what I like with what Frank said."
Even more important, Ebron said, is the guy who will be throwing him the ball.
After working with an extremely talented quarterback, Matthew Stafford, the first four years of his career, Ebron started to do his homework on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck when the team reached out to him in free agency.
It didn't take long at all for Ebron to be sold on No. 12.
"That was the reason why I came here is because of Andrew Luck – to keep it honest," Ebron said. "It doesn't really matter where I played or where I went, I just wanted a quarterback and someone that I knew could get me the ball and pretty much work with me the way that I knew that I needed to be worked with. And I think Andrew Luck was the perfect fit. Doing my research and my time upon him, I just felt like that was the perfect move for me was to come to Indianapolis and be a weapon for him."
So just what exactly will this new Colts offense look like in 2018?
As far as Ebron's concerned, he's keeping things close to the vest.
"You're just going to have to watch," he said with a smile. "I'm not a guy to spill the beans."