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Rookie Joe Haeg Giving Colts Possible Swing Tackle Option In 2016

Intro: Fifth-round pick Joe Haeg is starting to carve out a role for his rookie season. How could Haeg’s role look here in 2016?


INDIANAPOLIS – It's no real surprise that Joe Haeg has found himself gravitating towards veteran Joe Reitz early in his NFL career.

In an NFL world where players migrate from all sorts of backgrounds, Reitz's path is extremely unique.

But Haeg can somewhat relate.

Reitz didn't play college football. His post-college life saw him put on around 60 pounds to pursue an NFL dream.

While Haeg did play college football, the only reason he got that chance came from putting on some serious mass.

Haeg was a 230-pound walk-on at North Dakota State. To get on the field, around 60 pounds was needed for his 6-5 frame.

The weight came and it produced a four-year starter and a future NFL Draft pick.

Now in the same room as Reitz, Haeg has flocked to the easygoing veteran.

"Joe Reitz has been amazing help, especially these last couple of days," Haeg said in the Colts' final week of Training Camp.

"It's unbelievable how much support the older guys have for us younger guys. They've really embraced us and really have that older brother feel to us and it's been awesome."

Reitz's specific impact as of late has been because Haeg was working at right tackle.

A groin injury kept Reitz sidelined for a couple of days in Anderson.

With a plug and play guy needed, the Colts turned to Haeg for a role that Reitz has mastered in for the last handful of seasons.

When the 2016 regular season arrives, Haeg isn't expected to be in the starting lineup.

But he's shown this offseason, with starting reps at right guard and right tackle, that Haeg is the likely "swing tackle," giving the Colts one guy who can be a backup in multiple spots.

Chuck Pagano has taken note.

"He had the one false start (Saturday) but he battled his tail off and got significant snaps inside and significant snaps outside," Pagano said of Haeg's NFL debut.

"His versatility obviously is something that's a bonus for all of us. He's a guy that you start to check off all the boxes on. Again, it wasn't perfect, but he's smart and knows what to do and he's a really good competitor and a tough guy and he'll battle in there. That's obviously a good thing."

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