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Eight years into NFL career, newly-signed Colts RB Kenyan Drake staying motivated to prove himself

Drake signed with the Colts Saturday morning and practiced with his new team for the first time later in the evening. 


WESTFIELD, Ind. – After a whirlwind 24 hours, Kenyan Drake pulled out a Drake quote (and no, he wasn't talking in the first person).

Drake, who debuted in 2016 and has ran for the Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens, hopped on a plane to Indianapolis Friday evening. He signed with the Colts Saturday morning; about seven hours later, he popped on to the indoor practice fields at Grand Park for his first practice.

The first rep he took in Saturday's practice wasn't just a full-pads, 11-on-11 play – it was live contact, and gave him a physical welcome to training camp.

While Drake said he felt like he was running in mud on that play, getting back on the field in a team environment with an opportunity to play football again was all he could've asked for.

So back to that Drake (the rapper) quote: "The moment I stop having fun with it, I'll be done with it."

And Drake (the football player) hasn't stopped having fun yet.

"I'm having a great time. I love football," Drake said. "I love being around the guys that we all have a like-minded mindset, which is going out and winning a championship. And I knew with my ability and my self-confidence that if I put the work in I would reap what I sow. So I'm going to continue to build upon that and help this team win games down the road."

Over 101 career games, the 29-year-old Drake has 867 rushing attempts for 3,866 yards (4.5 yards/attempt) with 33 touchdowns; he also has 216 receptions for 1,624 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. Drake in 2022 appeared in 12 games (five starts) with the Ravens and had 482 rushing yards on 109 attempts (4.4 yards/attempt) with four rushing scores.

While Drake feels like he still has plenty of good years left, he had to take a mental re-set after the 2022 season. For the first time in his career, he was without a team during the offseason program and into the start of training camp. Drake said he had to channel the mentality he had when trained for the 2016 NFL Draft – a time when he didn't know where he'd be going, but knew he was going somewhere.

It was a little different for Drake in 2023, when there was no guarantee of employment (he was considered one of the better running backs in the 2016 draft class and became a third round pick of the Dolphins). But he remained confident he'd get a shot somewhere, so he went to work over the last few weeks making sure he'd be in the right space mentally and physically to catch on when an opportunity arose.

"Every day I got up, I had to open up my horizons a little bit because now I'm Year 8, you know, in the latter half of my career," Drake said. "Obviously I want to continue to play as long as I can. I feel like I got a lot of tread on my tires. But I was able to open my mind up and kind of take down the blinders from just being in a football facility from March until camp and kind of focus on myself, focus on my family.

"And that was great for the time being and then once camp kind of got going, it was like alright, let me really buckle down and put myself through my own personal camp over the last month or so. That gave me an opportunity to come here and put my abilities on (display)."

Now that Drake took advantage of the opportunity provided by the Colts – leading to him signing a contract Saturday – his goal is to earn a roster spot while making good on the work he put in this summer.

And that moment – the one Drake, the rapper, spoke about – still hasn't arrived.

"I know from a personal standpoint, Year 8, not that I necessarily need to play football but I want to," Drake said. "So every day I woke up with the same mindset like, I'm hungry to go out there and keep continuing to prove myself."

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