Most of Colts wide receiver Mike Strachan's family had never seen him play football before he made his NFL debut on Sunday.
He moved from his hometown of Freeport, Bahamas to Lynchburg, Va. as a sophomore in high school. He played his prep football at Liberty Christian Academy there and wound up at Division II Charleston (W.V.) to play in college. His sisters went to school about 90 minutes from Charleston, so they got to see him play a few times.
But the rest of his family couldn't make it. Until Sunday.
In attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Colts' season opener — and Strachan's NFL debut — were his mom, sisters, little brother, uncle and two cousins. Strachan had two catches, both to convert third downs, and drew a pass interference penalty against the Seahawks.
"It was definitely special," Strachan said. "A lot of emotions going on. I was just out there doing my job, when the ball comes to me, I have the mindset to make the play. For me to go out there and perform in front of them, it's as special thing for me."
Strachan, too, went a year and a half without even seeing most of his family because of Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm that hit the Bahamas in 2019. The storm devastated the Bahamas with 200 mile per hour winds, and some family members of Strachan's lost their homes. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit a few months later.
And Strachan's father, Jerome, still hasn't seen him play — but will when the Colts head to Miami to face the Dolphins in Week 4 thanks to this gesture:
Strachan plays wide receiver because of his dad, who was a wide receiver in his college days at Bethune-Cookman. Strachan still gets tips on what he could do better from his dad and takes those to heart during practices and games.
"It'll mean the world to me," Strachan said of having his dad in Miami in a few weeks. "He was the one who brought me up and helped me, teaching me to learn receiver. He also played receiver. So for me to go out there and show him all he's taught me throughout the years is going to be special for me, it's going to be emotional.
"I just want to be able to go out there and show him all the things we've talked about in our personal meetings with me and him, with us meeting and watching film together and just learning overall the receiver position, it's going to be special."
For now, though, Strachan is focused on doing his job and making plays when his number is called. His first catch was a tough snag to convert a third down; his second one picked up 16 yards on third and 12. He knew he would be used in certain situations and did what he could to use his size and strength to make those catches.
"After plays like that, it just motivates me to make big plays even more," Strachan said. "Each play I want to keep stacking and making plays for my team. It's definitely motivating and it feels great."
Strachan has impressed coaches and teammates ever since he arrived in Indianapolis after the Colts took him in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft. First it was picking things up quickly during OTAs, then it was making plays during training camp at Grand Park. Then it was making plays during preseason games in August.
Now, it's making plays on Sundays in the regular season.
"(He showed) that he can be relied upon," offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said. "That he's growing and that he can contribute to the offense and I thought he did a great job with his opportunities. He had the early third down conversion, then he had a nice big one on third-and-long while we were backed up. He's just going to continue to grow and we're looking forward to that."