INDIANAPOLIS — Productive playmaker? Check. Solid blocker? Check. Team leader? Check.
Jack Doyle checks all the boxes when it comes to playing tight end for the Indianapolis Colts, and on Friday the team rewarded the Pro Bowler for his efforts, signing him to a reported three-year contract extension that will keep him playing in his hometown for the foreseeable future.
His head coach, Frank Reich, couldn't be more ecstatic for Doyle — and for his team.
"When it comes to contract extensions and getting 'paid,' as they say, there's not a more deserving person in this building," Reich told Colts.com on Friday. "I mean, he's at the top of the list. So just happy for him, and hope he's here for many years to come."
Doyle's football story begins in Indianapolis, where he was a standout at local Cathedral High School before embarking on a record-breaking career at Western Kentucky; there he set school records for career receptions (162) and receiving yards (1,769) by a tight end.
He initially signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted college free agent back in 2013, but was waived during final roster cuts just prior to the start of the regular season. That's when the Colts claimed the tight end, officially putting him on their active roster — and he hasn't moved since.
Now in his seventh season in Indy, Doyle has competed in 96 games with 54 starts and has totaled 236 receptions for 2,105 yards and 18 touchdowns. His 236 receptions rank fifth in Colts history among tight ends and his 80 catches in 2017 are the second most in a single season by a tight end in team history.
Doyle also earned his first-career Pro Bowl selection in 2017, when he logged 80 receptions for 690 yards and four touchdowns.
Reich said he considers Doyle to be "one of the better tight ends in the league," and there's a multitude of reasons to back up that claim.
As a pass catcher, few tight ends, if any, have been as reliable as Doyle since he entered the league; his 75.6 catch percentage since 2013 is the highest among any tight ends in the NFL with at least 200 receptions, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. That means when you throw the ball Doyle's way, he'll figure out a way to catch it.
But Reich said the aspect of Doyle's game that really sets him apart as a tight end is his ability to block. Case in point: through 12 games this season, Doyle ranks fourth in the NFL among qualified tight ends in Pro Football Focus' pass blocking grades, and he's constantly counted on to open up holes along the perimeter in the Colts' run game, which heads into Sunday's Week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked fourth in the league at 139 rushing yards per game.
"I'll tell you, one of the things that makes a player great is the little subtle things that you do," Reich said. "It's the little subtle things in route running, it's the subtle things in blocking, (like) when you're in a combination block, just being able to communicate with the tackle in the right way to get the right fit on a combination block, and the right timing — those things? You can't measure those things. But he does them all right, and it seems like he does them perfect so many times."
The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to Doyle is his leadership, both on and off the field.
More of a lead-by-example personality on the field and in the locker room, Doyle — the Colts' 2018 Ed Block Courage Award recipient — is constantly working in the community, whether it's through the Jack and Casie Doyle Tuition Assistance Grant at Cathedral High School, which provides half scholarships to two incoming freshmen, or it's his support of homeless youth from Dayspring Center in Indianapolis.
Put all those factors together, and it's no wonder why the Colts are so excited to know they'll have No. 84 back for another few years.
"Maybe the thing that I think about Jack the most is he's not only a great player himself, but he literally has his unique ways where he makes everybody better around him," Reich said. "And he just stands for everything we're about, and wanna be about. He's got great leadership — every aspect of his leadership is exemplary. And then on top of that he's a great player.
"I mean, the guy's incredible."