INDIANAPOLIS — For the second straight offseason, general manager Chris Ballard has added a veteran defender fresh off a Super Bowl victory to lead a young Indianapolis Colts defense.
Najee Goode signed with Indianapolis April 5, two months after raising the Lombardi Trophy with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He joins the Colts a year after Jabaal Sheard — who won Super Bowl LI with the New England Patriots in 2016 — came to town and paid immediate dividends, leading the Colts in sacks with 5.5 as he earned the highest overall grade on the roster from Pro Football Focus (91.3 out of 100).
Goode is looking to make a similar impact during his first season wearing the horseshoe, and knows he has a clean slate to work with under the new coaching staff.
"We've all got a fresh start—new coaches and new system and new scheme," Goode said.
Known for his special teams prowess, the seventh-year veteran in 2017 started three regular season games while appearing in all 16, contributing to the Eagles 4-3 defensive scheme primarily at middle linebacker.
Goode played in all three of Philly's postseason games — including starting the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings — helping the Eagles punch their ticket to Super Bowl LII.
The Cleveland native intends to make his presence felt and push for one of the three linebacker positions in the Colts' scheme under new defensive coordinator — and fellow former NFC East rival — Matt Eberflus, who joined the Colts' staff this offseason after having spent the seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
"I'm definitely going to put my best foot forward to make sure that I'm one of the starting three," said Goode, who was seen working in with theoretical "first-team" defense either at WILL or MIKE linebacker throughout the Colts' offseason workout program.
The free agent signee — originally selected out of West Virginia by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft — also has a unique perspective about what the Colts have in their new leader, having spent the last couple seasons on the opposite side of the ball from then-offensive coordinator Frank Reich in Philly.
"He played for 14, 15 years, and the one thing that I noticed from watching him and the quarterbacks that he [has] coached just from being able to play against him is that Frank is smart," Goode said. "You can't play in the league that long and not be a smart coach."