INDIANAPOLIS –For any 3-4 defensive scheme to succeed, the player manning the middle of the defensive line better be ready for the grunt work.
The accolades won't be pouring in for a life in the trenches that includes clogging up holes, attracting double teams just so the next line of defenders can rack up tackles.
New free agent signee Aubrayo Franklin is entering his 11th NFL season living this life, and his 78 starts over the past six years indicate that he is succeeding at a position that isn't the most glorified on the gridiron.
According to Franklin, the Colts are getting a 'tough, hard-nosed' player that knows his role in the middle.
"I really give up my body to allow my linebackers to make plays, be free and make tackles," Franklin said.
Franklin, just like fellow defensive lineman and free agent signee Ricky Jean-Francois, has history with defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
From 2007-2010, Franklin was Manusky's starting nose tackle in the 49ers' defense and played in 62-of-64 games during those four years.
'Getting back with Manusky was real big," Franklin said of his decision to join the Colts. "We were real close in (San Francisco). We came in at the same time so we grew together."
When it comes to the Colts and the nose tackle position, Martin Tevaseu is the only returning starter (two games), with Antonio Johnson a free agent after starting 13 games last year.
Tevaseu is joined by a pair of returnees who did not see any action in 2012 due to knee injuries.
Rookie Josh Chapman missed the entire offseason of his first year in the NFL after recovering from knee surgery following his participation in the 2012 BCS National Championship.
The Colts remain high on their 2012 fifth-round draft pick after watching Chapman practice for three weeks before placing him on injured reserve in late November.
Brandon McKinney rounds out the quartet and the former Baltimore Raven is currently rehabbing a knee injury that he suffered near the end of training camp.
Not just one player will man the nose tackle position come fall and Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson is comfortable with the numbers in the middle of the defensive line but isn't going to offer any medical opinions.
"I want them to be comfortable mentally and from a physical standpoint before we throw them out there because this is a physical violent game that people get hurt in and you don't want to rush somebody back too quick," Grigson said of the tackles that missed 2012.
"But we also have to bolster this roster and we also have to always be looking ahead to get the best players on the field day one and hopefully everyone else gets well and then they enter the mix and then it shakes out."
Grigson said that the roster has 'bigger bodies than we've ever had' at the nose tackle position and that only continues with the addition of Franklin.
Health has been a strong suit of Franklin, missing just nine games (out of a possible 128) since the start of the 2005 campaign.
After a 2012 season which saw the Colts defensive line deal with a rash of injuries and new faces, the outlook for 2013 includes some proven, quality depth.
"Aubrayo's an excellent run defender that plays with great technique and has played in the scheme for Greg Manusky in the past," Grigson said. "We feel he is a veteran 'pillar' type addition that will bring a strong intangible package to the field and our locker room. We are all glad he is now a Colt and part of our team."