SCOTTSDALE, AZ --- Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton capped off his breakout 3rd season in the NFL with a touchdown in his first Pro Bowl Sunday. At his final practice of the season Saturday, he explored what led to becoming just the third player in franchise history to gain 1,300 receiving yards in a season, joining Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.
Hilton said his attitude was to keep pushing forward last offseason. "Don't take steps back," he said, also giving credit for his success to two people in the organization in particular - mentor and veteran receiver Reggie Wayne and wide receivers coach Charlie Williams.
T.Y.'s quarterback also reflected on his top receiver's best season yet at the Pro Bowl and how Hilton did not shy away from being the top target after modestly saying in training camp the Colts had three #1 receivers.
"Just confidence, competence, knows what he's doing" said Andrew Luck Saturday. "He's so dynamic, so athletic, so explosive. You can tell he wants to be the guy, wants to shoulder the responsibility of it all. Fun to play with."
In order to be that #1 guy though, Hilton had to fine tune some aspects of his game in season three.
"My routes. I started working hard on my routes, coming back to the ball" said Hilton, after racking up 82 receptions, 1,345 yards, and 7 touchdowns in 2014 (all career-highs). "My catching as well. I'm going to continue to work on all of those things, the little things and continue to get better."
So what now for this offseason?
"I have to get rest, gotta rest my body, dealing with a hamstring" said Hilton with a smile, an injury that kept him out of the week 16 loss at Dallas. "I'm going to rest my body for a little bit, come back, and just go back after it."
Hilton, like many Colts fans though, is now wondering if his NFL mentor will be back in 2015. Reggie Wayne's contract is expiring and retirement is an option, but that is yet to be determined.
"I told him I'd give him a few weeks. We'll go our separate ways," said Hilton. "Then I'll probably call, hook up in Miami, and just talk. He told me whenever he's ready, he'll give me that call."
Whether it's Hilton back with Wayne next season, or just the protegee embarking on his own from here on out, he said he's ready to "make that extra push" in 2015 to help the Colts hopefully reach the Super Bowl.
"They whooped us pretty good. For us, we know it's either going to be Denver or the Patriots or some team that's going to add some pieces," said Hilton. "So for us, we got to be better. We gotta start knocking off those contenders. Just get better. When we make it to that big game, we got to find a way to finish. Just continue to get better, add our pieces on our end, and we should be fine."
So after a Pro Bowl 3rd season, Hilton's mindset is already like many of those in the Colts organization at the beginning of this offseason: re-start to finish.