INDIANAPOLIS –For weeks the Colts have hinted at the possible addition of a wide receiver to their potent offense, and the efforts have produced results with the agreement of contract terms with Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Heyward-Bey, who has started 52-of-56 career games with Oakland, will be joining a Colts offense that ranked 10th overall in the NFL in 2012, seventh in passing.
Heyward-Bey was the seventh overall choice in the 2009 draft by Oakland, and he caught 140 career passes for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns.
This past season, Heyward-Bey, 6-2, 216, had 41 receptions for 606 yards and five touchdowns.
The performance came after he had 64 receptions for 975 yards and four scores in 2011. He registered three 100-yard receiving performances for that year, including a career-high 155-yard game against Detroit (12/18).
Heyward-Bey's addition to the Colts comes in large part as a replacement for Donnie Avery. Avery joined Indianapolis in 2012 as an unrestricted free agent. He caught 60 passes for 781 yards and three touchdowns, ranking second on the club in receptions and third in yardage.
Heyward-Bey adds a speedy presence to an Indianapolis passing attack that averaged 258 yards per game. He was clocked at 4.3 at the Combine prior to the 2009 draft. He had 138 receptions at Maryland for 2,089 yards and 13 touchdowns.
"We feel great about acquiring a talented player in Darrius Heyward-Bey," said General Manager Ryan Grigson. "He's big, strong and shows toughness in traffic and after the catch. He's got elite finishing speed that's as good as there is in the NFL.
"With this staff, this team and overall culture we're building here in Indy, we felt strongly that he was the right player and person at the wide receiver position for us moving forward."
Over the last four seasons, Heyward-Bey led the Raiders in receptions and reception yards, while finishing second in touchdowns behind Denarius Moore (12).
In 2010, Heyward-Bey had 26 receptions for 366 yards and a touchdown. His top performance was against Seattle with 105 reception yards, including a career-long 69-yard scoring snare.
Heyward-Bey opened 11 games as a rookie and since then has started at least 13 games each year. He will be joining a receiving corps headlined by Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill, along with Nathan Palmer, Jeremy Kelley, Jabin Sambrano and Griff Whalen.
Under Grigson, the Colts have added eight players through unrestricted free agency this off-season. Indianapolis also traded for fullback Stanley Havili and added veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Heyward-Bey is entering his prime career years and will be joined by other young Indianapolis performers in tight ends Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Wes Saunders, along with running backs Donald Brown, Delone Carter and Vick Ballard.
Last season, Andrew Luck (339-of-627 for 4,374 yards and 23 TDs) set NFL rookie records in attempts, yards and 300-yard games (six).
He helped lead seven fourth-quarter or overtime game-winning drives, tying the mark for the most by any quarterback since 1970 and done only six other times.
Luck worked in an attack that took its shots downfield. The Colts had a 12.9 completion average, third-best in the league and exceeded only by Carolina (13.8) and Tampa Bay (13.3). Only five other teams topped a 12.0 average.