INDIANAPOLIS — Pierre Desir was just hitting his stride with the Indianapolis Colts last season before a pectoral injury ended his season prematurely.
Desir was on his way to a career year when he was injured making a tackle in Week 13, missing the final four games. Just two weeks before, he recorded his first career interception — this off of the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger — and his six starts in 2017 tied his previous career high.
Despite the injury, the Colts liked what they got out of Desir in 2017 and gave him a chance to continue proving himself, re-signing him to a one-year deal in March.
When Desir spoke to the media following his new deal, his physical status for the spring was up in the air, saying he still had rehab to finish but that he would at least be available for training camp.
Fast forward through OTAs and mandatory minicamp, however, and Desir was a full participant, running with what could be considered the first unit at cornerback.
Prior to joining the Colts last summer, Desir was a journeyman who had spent time with three other teams. However, various injuries near the top of the Colts' cornerback depth chart created opportunities for Desir to see playing time, and he took advantage.
Earning starting time for the first time since 2015 "did a lot for my confidence," said Desir.
"It definitely showed myself and a lot of people that I can play," he said. "In each game, just continuing to get better so the opportunities to play in those games were a big thing for me."
Looking ahead to the 2018 season and the Colts' new defense under Matt Eberflus, Desir is optimistic.
"I think I'm going to be able to use my size and my length to my ability," Desir said this spring. "It's going to allow me to mess up the timing of the receivers, because the front seven — they are going to get some pressure. So that's going to allow me to create opportunities to make some plays, so I think I fit well."
Desir elaborated on what the change in defense could mean for the other cornerbacks and him philosophically.
"My job changes from playing – it's a combination but it is mainly zone and more vision," he said. "I'm able to get my eyes on the quarterback and be able to attack the ball for more potential takeaways rather than being in man coverage and not being able to get eyes on the ball and play for the ball."
Being on a one-year deal this season and having the opportunity to show people his play last year wasn't a fluke, Desir is embracing yet another opportunity.
"I look at this year being a big year for me. Last year, the season didn't end the way I wanted it to," Desir said. "I feel like I have a lot of upside, a lot of good football to play, and I'm definitely excited and looking forward to playing in this scheme and playing for these coaches."