INDIANAPOLIS —Sometimes it's just nice to be wanted, which is how Eric Ebron felt immediately upon his release by the Detroit Lions last week.
One-by-one, a different member of the Indianapolis Colts' coaching staff reached out to the tight end, trying to entice him to come to Indy for a visit and consider signing a free agent deal with their team.
Whether it was head coach Frank Reich, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni or tight ends coach Tom Manning, each said something that stuck with Ebron. So although other teams eventually came calling — and he would take visits to their facilities — Ebron said he intentionally made his trip to Indianapolis his final destination.
He heard everything he needed to during his time in the Circle City, and on Monday evening, signed a reported two-year deal to immediately become one of the Colts' top offensive threats.
"The first team is always the one that catches your attention, because they're the ones that think highly of you," Ebron told Colts.com moments after signing his contract. "So I did a few visits, and this was one of my last ones — which I set up purposefully, because I kind of felt the energy from them — so when I came in and met them, it just was a sign."
Ebron, who turns 25 in April, was the 10th-overall pick by the Lions in the 2014 NFL Draft after a record-setting career at the University of North Carolina, where he drew comparisons to the likes of Vernon Davis, another athletic, talented pass-catching tight end.
It took a little while for Ebron to get things going in Detroit — he had just 25 receptions for 248 yards and a touchdown in 13 games with seven starts his rookie season — but he really began to pick up the pace from there. From 2015 through 2017, he had 47, 61 and 53 receptions; 537, 711 and 574 yards; and five, one and four touchdowns, respectively.
Ebron said his game is predicated on energy, which is ideal for a Reich-led offense, which he said will feature a lot of up-tempo action.
"I bring a lot of energy, and a passion," Ebron said. "You know, this is a new, fresh start for me; this is something new for me, and I have a new mindset and a new mantra. So I'm just going to try to bring as much energy, as much passion, as much intensity, and, really, I like to have fun, so a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, and just really help boost the morale and help do my job and dedicate everything I can to help the organization."
Ebron also could help create matchup nightmares when the Colts elect to go with a two tight-end set. Jack Doyle, who is coming off a career year and his first Pro Bowl selection, finished second among all NFL tight ends in receptions last season (80), and teams could be forced to decide between the two receiving threats when trying to figure out how to defend the Colts' passing attack.
Ebron envisions a "Batman and Robin" type relationship with Doyle, who is much more quiet and reserved.
"Let's hope we can get something going," Ebron said. "I definitely look forward to playing with him, because he has excelled at the tight end position here, and obviously he knows Indy — I mean, he's been here. So I look forward to getting with him and basically becoming a duo, (and) hopefully we do something that is legendary, because that's everyone's goal at the end of the day."
The man throwing him the ball was also a huge part of Ebron's decision-making process. After four seasons working with one of the league's best quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford, Ebron now has Andrew Luck slinging him the rock.
"I believe that Andrew Luck is a great quarterback, and that was big upon my decision, because, you know, I'm here given an opportunity to play for this organization, and whatever organization that played its role (in his signing) had to have a great quarterback," Ebron said. "So I definitely chose Andrew Luck, and a lot of people that I've talked to have spoke highly of him — now that I'm down in Texas, so I hear and I ask around about him and being at Stanford … oh yeah, I know his whole history. So it definitely played a huge role into me being able to become a Colt."
A behind the scenes look at tight end Eric Ebron signing with the Colts.