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Former Rugby Star Daniel Adongo Plays In First NFL Defensive Setting

Intro: Sunday’s preseason opener for the Colts also meant the first time that former rugby star Daniel Adongo had ever logged defensive minutes in an NFL game.


INDIANAPOLIS – Trent Cole had heard of the former rugby star trying to make it in the NFL.

The paths of Cole and Daniel Adongo to life as a professional football player are polar opposite.

However, when Cole arrived to Indianapolis as a free agent this spring and began to watch Adongo continue to adapt to being a football player, one characteristic looked awfully familiar.

"He's very relentless," Cole says of the 6-5, 252-pound Adongo.

"He reminds me of myself, me coming into the league. He's octane. When it's time to go, there's one speed."

The chance to ramp up that speed finally came in a defense setting last Sunday.

Lost in all the chaos of a preseason opener was Adongo finally seeing live, game action within the Colts defense.

Adongo played 28 defensive snaps on Sunday in Philadelphia, recording one tackle and two quarterback hurries from his outside linebacker position.

"(Adongo) did a great job," fellow outside linebacker Bjoern Werner.

"He played physical. He's out there giving it his all. His technique and everything has gotten so much better after Year Three. He looks pretty good."

When the Colts first brought Adongo to the United States, in the days before the 2013 Training Camp, they were encountering a project unlike any other in NFL history.

Outside of Adongo's world-class physical traits, he brought a work ethic necessary to even still be hanging around the league two years later.

The Colts called Adongo up from the practice squad in early December of that initial season.

He played two games back in 2013, only on the Colts special teams units.

Last preseason was thought to be when Adongo would debut in a defensive setting.

Any hope of that evaporated in the preseason opener though, when an Adongo's biceps injury put him on injured reserve a few days later.

Adongo knew that the 2015 season would be vital for his further progression in this NFL journey.

Ask Adongo's teammates, and they marvel at the development.

"From my experience around (Adongo), he's making tremendous strides," D'Qwell Jackson says after two seasons with Adongo.

"From not knowing anything about playing this game, he's come over and adapted to this environment. He's a tireless worker. He's always working extra, taking care of his body. He's doing everything necessary to be successful and it's showing. He's shown flashes that he can rush the passer. That light switch is clicking on for him so the more reps he gets, the better he's going to be."

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