QUESTIONS WITH THE COLTS

Chandler Harnish is a product of Bluffton, Indiana and Norwell High School. Harnish was a seventh-round pick by the Colts in this year’s draft. He spent a few moments recently visiting with Colts.com.

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Questions and Answers with Colts Quarterback Chandler.

Question:  When did you first realize football was going to be the thing you did in life?

Answer:  "I don't think I really realized it until probably sophomore year of high school.  My first love was basketball being an Indiana guy, just naturally loved basketball but I started playing football early on as well.  I got to about sophomore year and I kind of turned the page and I really started developing as a football player.  I got bigger, faster, stronger, I started having success on the field, I started getting recruited, things like that, and that's when I realized this is what I want to do moving forward."

*Q:  Did you continue playing basketball?
*A:  "Yeah I played through college a little bit but as my college (football) career continued to improve and develop, I started to see some success and where I could go.  I was really cautious about how much basketball I played.  Actually I would always go home at Christmas break, I'd play a little bit with some cousins and friends.  Men's recreation leagues are huge in Indiana."

*Q:  What do you remember about your first football team?
*A:  "I played in the Wells County pee-wee football league.  I played for the Colts.  The Colts were my very first team so that was kind of cool, kind of ironic.  I played running back a little bit.  I played quarterback when we'd throw the ball.  But I was really kind of a wimp on the field.  I remember one game I was laying on the field.  I had thought I was hurt and my dad literally just grabbed my jersey and just dragged me off the field, and he just yelled at me.  I think right then and there I kind of learned toughness is what it takes to be successful at this game."

Q:  What was your favorite football team growing up?

A:  "Colts all the way being an Indiana guy, just a huge Peyton Manning fan, just loved the organization, just loved the way they ran things with high integrity, character.  The irony of this situation is unbelievable."

*Q:  What's it like to play for the local team that you grew up watching?
*A:  "There are definitely positives and negatives.  The positives are definitely being a homegrown kid.  I've always loved the Colts, family and friends loved the Colts.  My grandparents have season tickets and have had them for like 16 years.  So they can still come to games, they sit in the first row.  Just having the family nearby and the friends that support is awesome.  But then there are some negatives.   A lot more pressure is put on you kind of indirectly because people really want to see you succeed.  There are positives and negatives but at the end, there are a lot more positives?"

Q:  Do you have any pregame rituals?

A:  "Yeah if you think back to like what Peyton Manning did, he'd go out and get a really good sweat, a great workout and that's what I love to do.  I love to go out and get a really good stretch, a dynamic warm-up.  I love to throw the routes that we have in the game plan for the game.  I throw with my wide receivers.  I like to spiritually talk to God before the game and just get right and get at peace and just listen to really soft music just to calm myself down.  Then I always go over the game plan one more time and go through every play, 'What are we doing on this, what are we doing on this?'  I go through the whole game plan and then something snaps and I'm ready to go."

*Q:  What's your favorite kind of music?
*A:  "It's currently in the transformation process.  I used to be more of a rap/hip-hop type of guy but now as I've kind of grown a little bit and I'm coming back to Indiana, I'm really getting into country.  But I love classic rock, Journey, Foreigner, the Bee Gees a little bit, just a bunch of those kind of groups.  I love classic rock, but I'm kind of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to that.  I like a lot of different music."

Q:  Who is most responsible for where you are right now in football?

A:  "In terms of football, I can't give that to one person, but I'd definitely give that to my mother and father.  My dad coached me so well.  He did it the right way.  So many times nowadays you see father coaches pushing their kids too hard, getting too intense.  My dad was intense, but he always allowed us to do what we wanted to do.  He never pushed us too hard.  He taught us toughness, hard work, integrity.  Then my mom was always there to back him up.  She understands the game.  She's always tough, too, but just a great support staff.  She was always there when I need things."

*Q:  What was your first car?
*A:  "My first vehicle was like 1994 gold Plymouth Voyager mini-van."

*Q:  What was your first job?
*A:  "Growing up, we picked up rocks in our fields.  My grandfather would drive a tractor with a wagon behind it and myself, my brother and one of my brother's friends and sometimes our cousins we would walk down the field and we'd all have a certain amount of rows in a cornfield.  We'd pick rocks and throw them in the trailer, and we'd do that for hours on end in the summer. I hated it, but I think it taught me so many great values and morals that I use today."

Q:  Do you have any quotes that inspire you?

A:  "One Bible verse that I typically fall back on is a Proverbs Bible verse.  I can't think of the exact verse and chapter right now but it says, 'As iron sharpens so does one man sharpen another.'  The way I look at that is you can't do anything on your own.  You have to have someone there beside you doing what you're doing.  You have to have that person's accountability, when you're going that one person to lean on and talk to.  Another one a coach in college told me, 'You're either getting better, or you're getting worse.  You're never staying the same.'  So everyday I wake up, you know I'm not perfect, but I try and do something whether it's socially, academically when I was in school, athletically.  I'm either doing something to get better, or if I don't do anything at all I'm getting worse.  Whether that's watching extra film, studying a little bit harder, putting a little bit more into my relationship with my girlfriend, whatever it may be, you never want to stay stagnant."

Q:  What's it like to be one of two current professional athletes hailing from such a small town?

A:  "Again the irony here is the other guy from my area is Jarrod Parker (of the Oakland Athletics) and he's a really close friend of mine, graduated the same year with me.  So it's really cool how two guys can come from the same school, same class at that, but it just makes me awfully proud.  I feel like I have that responsibility to represent my community in the right way.  So many times you see guys getting arrested and doing the wrong thing, and it's an embarrassment to their organization, to their family, to their community.  I don't want to do that.  I'm trying to learn from those guys' mistakes.  I feel so proud and I'm really excited just moving forward wherever my career takes me just to represent my community and family in the right way."

Q:  Has he been able to give you any advice on how to handle being a professional athlete?

A:  "Not really.  We both are kind of going through the same thing.  He's made it.  He's on the big stage, and he's doing well.  So I'm trying to get like him, but he just came on in the last maybe eight months.  He's still new at it, too.  He's definitely a guy I'll lean on again going back to my Bible verse, 'Iron sharpens iron.'  He's just a guy I can always lean on."

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