WESTFIELD, Ind - Typically, during football practices, those in attendance are fixated on the skill position players as they patiently await to see a touchdown or a big hit.
However, during the Colts' training camp practice this past Saturday, fans were sent into a frenzy after punter Rigoberto Sanchez launched a 75-yard bomb.
"It gave me chills," Sanchez said. "It was just a good moment for everybody to see that I came back prepared. I'm just happy to be back."
While a deep punt can have benefits for a team during a game, the reaction from the crowd was for a more sentimental reason.
Last training camp, Sanchez suffered a torn Achilles, ending his sixth season before it even began.
"It's been a long process," Sanchez said. "Like I said before, I wouldn't change it for a thing. I'm just blessed to have been able to spend time with my family, my little one and my wife. I just took it head-on, just grinded it out and here we are."
Though no one would ever choose to be injured, Sanchez said that his time away from the field allowed him a rare opportunity to do some self-reflection.
"I feel like I learned how strong I really am," Sanchez said. "I didn't think I could be that strong, really. And my wife was – well everybody that was in my corner, just helped me get here and I'm just really thankful all the sacrifices that I went through to be here."
Over the years, Sanchez's teammate Matt Gay has dealt with his fair share of injuries, allowing the two to bond over the unenviable circumstance.
As the pair's relationship has grown, Gay has begun to commend Sanchez on his response to the setback and said that he thinks that he will be made better for it.
"I think the trials that we go through, and then the struggles -we have the two decisions," Gay said. "Either crumble from it or you know, embrace it and come back stronger. And he's done the latter. And so, I think he's gonna be really good. He's destined for a good season this year."
Further attesting to the year that Sanchez is capable of having is the Colts' special team coordinator, Brian Mason.
Working closely with Sanchez in meetings and practice, Mason said that had he not known about the injury beforehand, he wouldn't be able to tell it had even happened.
"He's 100 percent," Mason said. "He's been looking great and having no issues. Nothing would tell you at all that he had been injured."
Though it could be easy for Sanchez to be apprehensive whenever he takes the field for fear that another injury could happen, he said that he doesn't even let the thought creep into his mind.
"I don't think about it anymore," Sanchez said. "I'm full go and just happy to be here."