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Colts rookie minicamp notebook: Josh Downs already building rapport with Anthony Richardson; JuJu Brents, Emil Ekiyor on staying in Indianapolis

The Colts held their first of three 2023 rookie minicamp practices on Friday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Here's what we heard from a few of the team's first-year players. 

The quote: "His arm is crazy." - Wide receiver Josh Downs on Anthony Richardson

The other quote: "He came over and shook my hand — I got big hands, but I was like, it's like a mitt that suffocated my hand." - Cornerback JuJu Brents on meeting Anthony Richardson

Context: Downs added he and Richardson were so eager to get to work they threw a ball around for about 30 minutes in their hotel parking lot Thursday night.

"Having a quarterback that loves putting in work — I know he's a gamer," Downs said. "Just from that (parking lot throwing session), I know he's ready to go any time and I know he's going to put in the work to be great."


The quote: "I love working over the middle. A lot of people don't like it. You're going to take some hits here and there, but I feel like that's where the money's at. So gotta work over the middle of the field being in the slot and then maybe sometimes outside." - Downs

Context: Despite his 5-foot-9, 171 pound stature, Downs said his bread and butter is running over-the-middle routes from the slot, where he can use his short-area burst and sticky hands to be an offensive weapon. While he's the shortest wide receiver drafted by the Colts since T.Y. Hilton in 2012 (who was also a third-round pick), he's never let doubts about his size get in the way of his on-field production (he had 195 catches for 2,364 yards with 19 touchdowns his last two seasons at North Carolina).

"It's always been like that my whole life – just a shorter guy, so people tend to doubt me," Downs said. "I like being the underdog, and I feel like in those situations people expect less so I go out there and do more."


The quote: "It was crazy. Circling back to being a young child, loving the Colts, favorite player growing up was Bob Sanders, just watching Peyton Manning, the greats, all those guys. Now being able to wear the Horseshoe on my helmet, it's kind of surreal. It's sunk in for me now and I've just re-framed it a little bit. Now it's time to get to work." - Brents 

Context: Brents is an Indianapolis native, and he said just about every friend and family member mentioned to him the possibility of playing for the Colts during the pre-draft process. His 6-foot-3, 198 pound stature, long arms and high-end athletic traits (like a 41.5-inch vertical) make him a good fit for what the Colts are looking for in a cornerback.


The quote: "It was definitely — I would say I used the experience as motivation and definitely something that's going to fuel me in the future. It's God's plan. I ended up and home and excited to make the most of the opportunity." - Undrafted free agent guard Emil Ekiyor

Context: Ekiyor had been told he'd probably be selected somewhere between the third and fifth rounds of the draft (The Athletic's Dane Brugler rated him as a fourth-round prospect) but he didn't hear his name called and signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent Friday morning. Ekiyor said his agent told him a medical concern stemming from a 2021 knee injury likely dropped him out of the draft, but he'll have an opportunity to compete at right guard for the Colts going forward.

Ekiyor is the son of former Colts offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor and is an Indianapolis native – he played his high school ball at Cathedral High School, about 12 miles east on 56th Street from the Colts' facility.

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