Colts Veteran Wide Receiver Roy Hall Ready to Compete for Role in Receiver Rotation
INDIANAPOLIS – Roy Hall said he knows his task. He knows well the immediacy of it, too.
Hall, a wide receiver entering his third season with the Colts, said recently that while he doesn't feel any particular pressure after two injury-shortened seasons, at the same time he very much wants this season to not only perform, but do so at a consistent, high level.
Because Hall said he has chance to play this season.
And that's a chance of which he said he wants to take full advantage.
"You don't like to use titles like, 'make or break,'' Hall said recently, "but this is definitely a time for me to take advantage of an opunity. The door's definitely open. Nothing is etched in stone.
"That position is definitely open for the taking."
The position of which Hall spoke is a spot in the Colts' receiver rotation, which this season for the first time since 1995 will not include eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Marvin Harrison, who was released in the offseason for salary-cap reasons.
With Harrison gone, several young receivers worked in the rotation in the offseason, including second-year veteran Pierre Garcon, rookie Austin Collie and Hall, a fifth-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft.
"It's a real big year for him," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said of Hall. "We need him to come through."
Hall, at 6-feet-3, 240 pounds, has size above the average for an NFL wide receiver, but in two seasons, he has played just seven games, missing 13 games as a rookie and 12 last season.
As a result, when Colts coaches speak of Hall, they speak glowingly of potential . . .
But they speak of injuries, too.
"He's a guy that has all the physical tools," Caldwell said. "He's big and strong. He's fast. He's worked extremely hard on all the nuances of the game in terms of his route running, body position, etc. He's just been plagued with a few injuries. Knock on wood he's hopefully gotten through that and that he will develop and come through and be able to be a force for us."
Hall, whose lone NFL reception was a nine-yarder in a 23-0 victory over Tennessee in the 2008 regular-season finale, played a key role on special teams as a rookie before sustaining a shoulder injury in a violent kickoff-coverage collision that led the retirement of Houston defensive tackle Cedric Killings.
Last season, he sustained a knee injury that kept him out of Games 2-13.
"I wouldn't use the word, 'tough,' but it definitely has been a learning experience," Hall said of his first two NFL seasons. "Guys talk all the time about not taking this game for granted, not taking the NFL for granted. People always say, 'The NFL stands for Not For Long.' I've experienced it two years and some guys don't ever have the experience of having your season ended two years in a row. I haven't had the opportunities I wanted, but God's looking down on me and he has said, 'I'm going to give you another chance to go out and do what you can do.' I'm ready for it."
And while talk about Hall often centers on potential, he said he has no problem with that. The reason, he said, is he agrees – that there is potential in that has not yet been fulfilled.
"If I can stay healthy, the sky's the limit for me," Hall said. "I know I can play at this level and I know I can play at a high level at this level and contribute a ton to this program. I'm excited. I'm so excited. You might not hear it in my voice, but I am.
"Not to sound cliché, but I want to be the best receiver I can be this year, all the way around. I'm looking at this season as a fresh start. Everybody says that, but my last two years have been altered by injuries, so my problem has been I haven't been able to stay on the field.
"Right now I'm doing everything I possibly can to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Hall said his approach during the first two seasons has been to learn whatever he can however he can, and while veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne said recently he is only too happy to help younger wide receivers, Hall said there's a limit to just how much he pesters a veteran such as Wayne or Harrison. Mostly, Hall said, "I pick up on things by following them around."
And now that one of the duo is gone, Hall said the transition to a new era "will be an adjustment for everyone," and in that adjustment Hall said he hopes to play a major role.
"It's there for the grabbing," Hall said. "I feel like this is my opportunity to take advantage of it and use that couple of years of experience, learning how to be a pro, to my advantage. I'm excited. It's going to be great competition, but I really feel like it's my time to get it done. . . .
"I'm an intense guy. I'm extremely passionate about my trade and I just can't wait to get on that field again. It's a long journey from now until training camp, but I'm definitely going to make an impact this year."