INDIANAPOLIS — With their Week 1 contest against the Los Angeles Chargers just three days away, the Indianapolis Colts have named their five team captains for the 2019 season.
Who will be wearing that dignified "C" patch on their jersey this year?
Here are the 2019 Colts captains:
» Quarterback Jacoby Brissett: Brissett, 26, is entering his fourth NFL season in 2019, and his third with the Colts. The 2019 season will also be Brissett's first as the Colts' full-time starting quarterback, as he takes the reins of the offense following the Aug. 24 retirement of Andrew Luck. That Brissett was so quickly voted a team captain is not much of a surprise, given his status as a team leader since being acquired via trade with the New England Patriots just days before the start of the 2017 regular season. "Jacoby has this presence about him that it's just not all about him," Colts head coach Frank Reich said last week. "He's in it for the other guys and he genuinely is about bringing out the best in other people. You just feel that. You see that. The guys know that. I could see it instantly. I could see it instantly – seeing him with the guys out on the field. We are in good hands with Jacoby Brissett as our quarterback."
» Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton: Hilton, 29, is entering his eighth NFL season in 2019, all with the Colts. The Florida International product has been one of the league's best wide receivers since being selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, ranking eighth in the NFL in receptions (507), fourth in receiving yards (8,097) and 15th in receiving touchdowns (40) over that span. But Hilton reached legendary status late last season, as he led the league in receiving yards the second half of the season despite playing through high and low sprains on the same ankle from Week 14 through the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Hilton over the last couple seasons has also transitioned into one of the key team leaders, especially for a Colts wide receiver corps that has gotten significantly younger. "T.Y. has been a great source, obviously just because of how long he's been in the league and how knowledgeable he is, but he's really just an open player," rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell said. "I'm a first-year player, so it's kind of weird coming into something new. But he's been nothing but helpful and open."
» Linebacker Darius Leonard: Leonard, 24, is entering his second NFL season in 2019 after being selected in the second round of last year's NFL Draft out of South Carolina State. Leonard became an instant leader and playmaker for the Indy defense, and by season's end he led the entire NFL in tackles (163), earning First-Team All-Pro honors, as well as being named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year. Leonard's leadership is clearly evident each week on the practice field, where he's a ball of energy that keeps everybody fired up heading into gameday. "I practice just like I play. So, every time I step on the field, I'm going out there, I'm screaming at the top of my lungs, I'm dancing around, having a good time and bringing the juice because it's contagious," Leonard said. "If one guy sees me over there dancing around, having a good time and they're having a bad day – so hopefully that can get them up and bring the juice to both the offensive side of the ball, defensive side of the ball and special teams."
» Safety Clayton Geathers: Geathers, 27, is entering his fifth NFL season in 2019, all with the Colts. A fourth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Geathers has been a major playmaker and leader for the Indy secondary, and last year turned in the best season of his career, despite battling through his share of injuries. He finished with 89 tackles (one for a loss) with two quarterback hits, three passes defensed and one forced fumble in 12 games played, while finishing with another 14 tackles and one pass defensed in the Colts' two playoff games. Geathers quickly earned Reich's respect as a player willing to go to great lengths to make himself available each week. "He has been toughing it out big time. I can't say enough about that," Reich said of Geathers late last season. "Even when he is playing, he is just playing at a very high level. It is just something about when Clayton is out there it just gives us an emotional life. That guy is a leader in every way – just the physicality and the toughness. He is big time for us."
» Kicker Adam Vinatieri: Vinatieri, 46, is entering his 24th NFL season in 2019, and his 14th with the Colts. Vinatieri cemented his status as the greatest kicker in NFL history last season, when he became the league's all-time leader in points scored and made field goals. With 20 more field goal attempts, Vinatieri will also become the NFL's all-time leader in that category, and if he plays in 16 games this season, he'll pass Peyton Manning (208) for the second-most games played in franchise history. But records and milestones aside, Vinatieri has long-been considered a key leader — and not just for the special teams units. "Adam is not only one of the greatest Colts in team history, but one of the greatest players in NFL history," general manager Chris Ballard said of Vinatieri in January. "He is an ideal representative for our organization, the Indianapolis community and Colts fans everywhere. … In addition to his performance on the field, he brings a tremendous amount of leadership to our locker room. He sets the standard for what it means to be a professional and how to properly prepare, especially for our younger players."