King, Linkenbach Among Undrafted Free Agents Making Colts Roster
INDIANAPOLIS – Brandon King had confidence all along.
Still, the former Purdue University cornerback said there is a difference between confidence in yourself and making an NFL roster, so yes, he said, there were nervous moments this past weekend.
That was pretty much true all weekend, he said.
King, who signed with the Colts as a free agent shortly after the NFL Draft, got the news he wanted to hear this past weekend from his agent, who informed him he was among two collegiate free agents the Colts kept on their 53-man roster entering the regular season.
"It was a nerve-wracking weekend, man," King said Monday afternoon as the Colts began preparing for the 2010 regular-season opener against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m.
"I was sitting there Friday and Saturday, then my agent finally called and said, 'We're good.' It was the biggest relief ever."
One of the reasons King received that call:
King, who played cornerback his final two seasons at Purdue, played safety during his sophomore season. He will play fourth safety with the Colts behind Bob Sanders, Antoine Bethea and Melvin Bullitt, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said Monday.
"He's going to give us that fourth safety," Caldwell. "He has some flexibility. He has the girth, and certainly the speed to do it."
Said King, "I think that helped a lot. Playing it in college, I think that helped me out – playing physical and making a lot of good tackles."
Jeff Linkenbach, a free-agent rookie offensive tackle from Cincinnati, also made the 53-man roster, as did first-year veterans Devin Moore and Mitch King. Moore made the roster as a returner/running back while King – a defensive tackle from Iowa – also worked as a fullback in the preseason and training camp.
Moore, who played collegiately at Wyoming, attended Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis.
In all, the Colts have a number of players who made the roster as rookie free-agents on the active roster.
"No. 1, I think it shows you we have a pretty good, thorough evaluation process that goes on," Caldwell said. "Our guys find a lot of talent that they unearth that is able to come in and help us. The other thing is, we don't treat them any differently than we do draft choices. If they can play and help us, we give them an opunity to do so."
Moore, who competed with several players – including practice-squad signee Brandon James – for the return role, returned four punts for a 13.8-yard average with a long of 49 yards. He returned six kickoffs for a 29.0-yard average and a long of 38 yards.
"He showed some ability to hit seams," Caldwell said of Moore. "He has good speed. He runs recklessly, and I certainly do believe he has good vision. We feel good about him."
Said Moore, "Now, I have to put in twice as much effort to keep the job."
For players such as Moore, Linkenbach and King, the weekend following the final preseason game is about nervous moments and wondering about the future.
"Time went by fast," he said. "I called old teammates, guys who are in the NFL now. I talked to them about a lot of different things. I got out of the room and just drove around. I didn't just sit on the computer and worry about what people were saying. I was OK. I managed to get through it.
"I had a good feeling all along, but you never know. You don't want to sit there and say, 'This is what's going to happen.' So, I had a good feeling, but at the same time, I didn't want to put that in my head. I still had to go out and prove it."
And that, King said, doesn't change just because he made the roster this past weekend.
"You just keep going," King said. "There's no stopping. This doesn't mean anything. This is a week-to-week business. You get one week, don't play well and you can be gone the next week. How I play isn't going to change, but I think I'll play better because I have the confidence now, knowing that I'm here."
The Colts also over the weekend acquired cornerback Justin Tryon from the Washington Redskins in exchange for an undisclosed draft selection. A fourth-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft by Washington, he has one interception, a sack and 26 career tackles. He started two games last season.
"He's a guy who obviously has played in the league and has some experience," Caldwell said of Tryon. "He also has good foot speed and covers well. He's versatile. He plays a little bit inside and outside as well."
Tryon, who said he likely will play special teams and reserve corner, said he hopes to play in Sunday's regular-season opener.
"I'm planning on doing something on Sunday," Tryon said, adding that he can play outside or nickel corner. "I can do both."
Mostly, Tryon said he is happy to in Indianapolis.
"It's a blessing to be a Colt right now," Tryon said. "Here, right now, to be a Colts (player) is phenomenal. It was time. I'm here. I'm a Colts (player). I'm happy. I believe I win in the long run."