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Joe Reitz: The Answer To A Colts Trivia Question

Intro: Entering his fifth season with the Colts, Joe Reitz is one of the few holdovers from the new era that began in 2012. How does Reitz view playing for his hometown NFL team?





INDIANAPOLIS –Joe Reitz is the answer to a rather challenging Colts trivia question.

Name the seven Colts currently on the roster who were with the team prior to Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano being hired.

The potential Hall of Famers in Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne and Adam Vinatieri are the obvious ones.

A pair of 2009 draft picks are still in the fold with Fili Moala and Pat McAfee.

Anthony Castonzo is the lone holdover from the 2011 Colts draft class.

And that brings us to the man who rounds out that group of seven—Joe Reitz (Vinatieri and Reitz are the only free agent signings prior to 2012 still on the Colts roster).

Following Week One of the 2010 regular season, the Colts signed Reitz to their practice squad.

He was promoted to the team's 53-man roster right before the Colts Wild Card game against the Jets in January of that season and ever since then he's been a versatile cog in an ever-changing offensive line.

Many local Colts fans know Reitz's story.

He was an Indiana All-Star on the hardwood at Hamilton Southeastern High School and even though he was also an All-State tight end, Reitz decided to hang up the football pads by pursuing a basketball career at Western Michigan.

Reitz left WMU as one of the most decorated players in school history but instead of heading to Europe for a professional career, the Fishers native stayed in the U.S. and put the pads back on.

"I got to live out what I wanted to coming out of high school and now I'm living my other dream, which is to play professional sports, and to be able to do it at the highest level and for the last four years be a starter for your hometown team, you really couldn't ask for a better story," Reitz told 1070 The Fan earlier this offseason.

"It's something that is far beyond what I had dreamed of and hoped for."

For Reitz, the decision upon leaving HSE to pursue football or basketball at the next level came down to a mindset that many young Hoosiers had a decade ago.

Yes, he was an accomplished football player, but it was the game of basketball that was his first love and the thought of growing into a college offensive lineman wasn't too appealing (at the time).

In a time period where multi-sport athletes at the high school level have become rarer, Reitz is the ideal example of a player who thrived, and benefited, from playing two sports at a large high school.

If the Colts were picking their starting 5 on the basketball court, Reitz would be the obvious choice for a bruising post man.

His game attracted professional teams in Europe, but NFL scouts began flocking to Kalamazoo, Mich. following the end of Reitz's junior season.

As much as Reitz tried to push his life after college to the back burner, the question kept on creeping into his head.

"Could I have played football at the highest level?" Reitz thought.

"I didn't want something where I played overseas and five years down the road always wondering."

Reitz played basketball at Western Michigan from 2004-2008. A former Indiana All-Star at Hamilton Southeastern High School, Reitz finished his career at WMU as the school's third leading scorer and rebounder.

Less than a month after his basketball career came to a close, Reitz had workouts with NFL teams.

The transformation of his body to fully adapt to life as an NFL offensive lineman took about three years, according to Reitz.

"I remember setting my alarm clock for two in the morning, waking up, drinking a protein shake and going right back to bed because I was trying to get calories anyway I could," Reitz says.

"I finished college at 250 (pounds) and by February the next year, after my first year with Baltimore, I was up to 310."

After a little more than two years of blocking against the likes of Ray Lewis, Haloti Nagta and Terrell Suggs at practice, Reitz got his chance to crack an NFL lineup.

Reitz has started 17 games in his four seasons with the Colts and has filled a variety of roles from a swing tackle, a jumbo package tight end and now he's back at guard.

Could the road to the NFL have been easier for Reitz if he had just pursued college football?

Possibly, but don't tell that to Reitz.

"With injuries in football and the uncertainly, who knows? I might not have made it to the NFL at all," Reitz says of the second-guessing.

"I wouldn't have changed a thing."

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