INDIANAPOLIS --- T.Y. Hilton racked up 122 yards and a touchdown on four receptions, but that was not big story after the Colts beat the Jaguars 23-3 at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday afternoon. The big story was Hilton doing that on three hours sleep, after waking up at five o'clock in the morning, before being with his wife Shantrell for the birth of their daughter Eugenia.
"I got a bang on my door from my manager Petey to wake up," Hilton told Colts.com after the game. The team stays at a hotel together the night before games. "'Your wife's in labor.' Then, I jumped up, hopped up. I called Coach Pagano to tell him I was on my way to the hospital."
But that was only the beginning. Hilton says he met his wife at about 5:45 AM. She went into labor around 7:00 AM. Shantrell Hilton delivered their new baby girl by 7:30.
"I left at about 10:50, got here by about 11:30 (to Lucas Oil Stadium)," Hilton continued. "I started my routine stretching, staying in the locker room while the guy's warmed up, then made my big surprise."
It was a surprise indeed. There was chatter around Lucas Oil Stadium on the field and in the stands wondering where Hilton was pre-game. Some of his teammates didn't know either, including fellow wideout Donte Moncrief, who must have been wondering if he was going to be called upon to play a bigger role with Hilton not on the field before the game.
"I didn't even know he wasn't here at the time," said Moncrief after the game. "(Hilton) came in. 'Where you been at, T?' He told me he had his baby girl. It was kind of emotional for him when he came in. I knew he was going to have a big day."
That he did, capped by a career-long 73-yard 3rd quarter touchdown. The celebration that followed was even better. Hilton ditched his usual T.Y. motion with his arms, instead cradling the football as if it were his new daughter Eugenia.
"Before I left the hospital, I told her, 'You want a touchdown ball, or do you want the game ball?' I wanted to just go out there and play for her and give her my all," said Hilton. Eugenia can now choose from either. Hilton also got a game ball. "I'm tired. I didn't have no problems with my body while I was playing. So when I got in the endzone, I just rocked the baby to sleep."
His 122 yards were one yard short of a career-high. Hilton also finished one yard shy of passing his career-high for yards in the season (which he'll likely pass next week against Washington). T.Y. did eclipse 1,000 yards though for the second consecutive season, and his teammates were thrilled for Hilton's big day on both fronts.
"I wanted to cry for him," said defensive tackle Art Jones. "He played an awesome game. I think his daughter's name is Eugenia, beautiful name. I'm excited to see her."
"He was very emotional. We love T.Y. We see how compassionate he is about his kids," said inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman. "He loves his kids. So, it's great to see that man doing that."
"To be able to pull off 3 hours of sleep and still be able to play a ballgame, man! I just take my hat off to him," said defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois.
But can Hilton sleep in now Monday morning after his epic day? "No, we need him back in the training room," Jean Francois joked. "Just come by, lift a little bit of weights, get in the training room, look at a little film. But get back home and enjoy that newborn."
"So, he's got two boys and, and he's got a little girl now. And I said, 'That's it, right? You done?'" Head Coach Chuck Pagano said after the game. "He goes, 'Yeah, I'm done. That's it.'"
But he's not done providing for his kids. T.Y. Hilton will be doing that on the football field for many years to come.