RIGHT SPOT, RIGHT TIME

Cornerback Justin Tryon was traded to the Colts the week before the first regular season game and quickly carved a role for himself in the team's defensive backfield.

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Justin Tryon Flourished In Opunity With the Colts in 2010INDIANAPOLIS – Justin Tryon always believed he could play.

As such, he said he always stayed ready.

So, when the third-year cornerback arrived with the Colts early this past season, he said it weren't as if hearing that players needed to be ready to play – and to play well – quickly, was exactly intimidating, and it didn't worry him.

He said he saw it as an opportunity.

And it was one of which he took full advantage.

Tryon, a former draft choice of the Washington Redskins, joined the Colts in a trade shortly after the 2010 preseason, and not only did he spend the season as one of a slew of players who defined the franchise's 'Next Man Up' approach, he finished the season as a starter.

And along the way, he became a key reason for the Colts' success this season.

"Coming here was wonderful," Tryon said late in the 2010 season, a season in which the Colts won a seventh AFC South title in eight seasons and a season on which Colts.com will continue to look back in the coming days and weeks.

"It was a huge blessing."

Tryon said he spoke with Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen shortly after the preseason, and when Allen asked what he wanted, Tryon told him he wanted to play for a contender.

The trade was executed soon thereafter.

"I knew if I got traded or released or whatever, I'd be ready," Tryon said.

Tryon, a fourth-round selection by Washington in the 2008 NFL Draft, appeared in 12 games for the Colts this season, and while he later played extensively on defense, he made his early contribution on special teams before missing four games with an injury. He finished the season with 10 special teams tackles.

"They throw you right in the fire," Tryon said of the Colts. "I was like, 'Whoo. I've been here three, four, five days and I'm already out there.' But you have to stay ready."

When he returned, he got an opportunity on defense.

The Colts, who have talked often in recent seasons about their 'Next Man Up' approach of having reserve and backups contribute when starters sustain injuries, this season placed more than a dozen payers on the season-ending injured reserve list. The list included not only wide receivers Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez, but safeties Melvin Bullitt and Bob Sanders, as well cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden and Jerraud Powers.

With Powers and Hayden out much of the final month of the season, Tryon not only played a role, he started six games, including five at corner and one at nickelback.

"Justin Tryon obviously showed he is a very capable cornerback, so that's a real plus," Colts President Bill Polian said shortly after the season. "You can't have enough cornerbacks, as we found out this year."

If Tryon made an impression on the Colts, he said it was just as true that the team made an impression on him. The Colts last season played through their significant personnel losses to make an NFL record-tying ninth consecutive post-season appearance.

Tryon said it was easy to see why.

"The guys here, it's about work," he said. "The standard here is to go to the playoffs."

Tryon said it was evident early that a key part of reaching that standards is the credo that he said somehow becomes more than 'coach speak' around the Colts. Because Tryon said while many teams discuss reserves playing key roles, around the Colts there's a reason why it's more than talk.

"Everybody has to be ready – practice-squad guys, everybody," Tryon said. "Everybody zeros in on what we have to do each and every week. It's like, 'Hey, you're a professional, and around here, you have to be prepared.'"

Tryon said that approach leads to an accountability throughout the roster.

"These guys you're in the locker room with, you don't want to let them down," he said. "You don't want to let down these guys. You don't want to let down (two-time Pro Bowl safety Antoine) Bethea. You don't want to let down (11-time Pro Bowl quarterback) Peyton (Manning). You don't want to let down any of those guys, so you give your all even when you don't want to, or even when you're tired or you're hurt. You still have that extra drive in you that's fighting for the buddy."

And while Tryon said he arrived in Indianapolis ready to contribute when needed, and hoping that that contribution would be made for a contender, he said he didn't expect – couldn't have expected – to do so to quite the extent he did.

Tryon not only started six games, he defensed nine passes and had six tackles and a special teams tackle in a late December victory over Oakland, a game that was part of a four-game, season-ending winning streak that gave the Colts the AFC South title.

"I have to just thank the Lord for letting me make the contribution I did," Tryon said. "Every day I come out here, and I know I could have been somewhere else. I could have been someplace where I was making plays, and they couldn't see it. This was a fresh start.

"Here, when you do it, they see it and they give you a chance. I just have to look up to the Lord, because I was in the right spot at the right time."

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