INDIANAPOLIS — New Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Sheldon Day today spoke with Colts.com's Matt Taylor. Hear what he had to say about what he's bringing to the Indy defense, the opportunity to continue playing with DeForest Buckner, his memories of growing up in Indianapolis and much more.
Here are some highlights from the conversation, which you can listen to in its entirety above:
» Day's playing style seems like a perfect fit for coordinator Matt Eberflus' defensive schemes: The Colts of course want talented playmakers on defense, but at the very core the most important attributes the team are looking for include effort, passion and hustle.
Day said he brings that to the table each and every week.
"High motor, I love the game," Day said when asked how he'd describe his playing style. "I'm definitely a technician; I try to do everything right and make sure that I'm felt when I'm on the field."
Just 25 years old — he'll be 26 in July — Day has spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers as a key piece of depth for a couple very talented defensive lines, but the arrow certainly appears to be pointed up for Day and his potential.
In fact, Day started all three postseason games for the 49ers last season, including Super Bowl LIV.
The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Day has played in 56 career games in all, and has collected 53 tackles (38 solo), 14.0 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and four passes defensed over that time.
Day said he was already very familiar with the Colts' playing style from studying them on film over the last couple years, and is excited to add his flavor to the defense in 2020.
"The tenacity that they play with," Day said when asked what stands out about the Colts' defense. "And I love watching them on film. Last year with the Niners, we'd watch effort plays and stuff like that, and the way that the Colts play, they run to the ball, they play physical, they fly around, have fun, young group. So it's going to be an exciting time to get established with these guys."
» Day is ecstatic about the chance to follow fellow former 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to Indy: The Colts on March 18 made a huge splash when they acquired the All-Pro Buckner in a trade with the 49ers, sending the 13th-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to San Francisco.
Day and Buckner have been teammates along the defensive line the last 2 1/2 seasons with the 49ers, and have developed a close bond that will only continue to grow with their Colts opportunity.
"DeForest (has) made me detail my game," Day said. "So we would be working on pass-rush moves, bouncing ideas off of each other, just trying to make sure that our game grew together, and we're always giving each other tips. If I see something on film I'm reach out to him, and vice versa. So, man, what a special guys he is."
Just what kind of playmaker are the Colts getting in Buckner?
"Oh man — he's a special player," Day said. "Great leader, on and off the field, but, man, can't say enough great things about him. A dominant force on the field; definitely fun playing with him — our chemistry is great — so it's a good opportunity for us to continue to grow our chemistry that we've been building the last two years."
It was Day and Buckner starting at defensive tackle for the 49ers as they advanced through the NFC playoffs and into the Super Bowl last season.
The Kansas City Chiefs ultimately won that game, 31-20, by staging a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback. But because of that, Day said the Colts are getting two defensive playmakers who know what it takes to get to the big game — and who understand how important it is to grab hold of the title when it's within grasp.
"Me and DeForest were talking about the chip that we have on our shoulder because we were so close," Day said. "It was right there in our hands, and all we had to do was squeeze it and grab it, and we let up. So ultimately we have a chip on our shoulders and we know how to get there, and now we know what to do to overcome that shortcoming that we had."
» Day can't wait to get back to his hometown to play in front of his family and friends: An Indianapolis native, Day cut his teeth at one of the top high school football programs in the state, Warren Central, before starring at Notre Dame.
He admits he was more of a "bandwagon" Colts fan growing up — it was hard not to root for those Peyton Manning teams that were winning 12 games year after year after year — but still believes he has "Colts in my blood."
"The first little league team I played for was the Colts," Day said with a laugh.
Day said it took him until his junior year in high school to really make any noise at the varsity level, an experience that taught him the true value of hard work and knowing how to play his role.
It's a message Day makes sure to pass along each year when he hosts a football camp at his alma mater on the east side of town.
"I would say early on, like, of course, freshman and sophomore year, I didn't play varsity ball — I was on the JV team — so I guess the process kind of made me understand and value how much work it would take," he said. "So I'd definitely say probably as I got into college, I was like, 'I can really do this,' and I started to dedicate myself to the game and really put everything I had into it."
A self-described "chill, laid-back guy with a big heart" off the field, Day, who trains in Miami, Fla., during the offseason, is looking forward to his opportunity to take the Lucas Oil Stadium turf once again.
"Just being able to play in front of the hometown, with all the support backing us, it's going to be a special year," Day said.
See the best images of defensive tackle Sheldon Day as he signs on to join the Indianapolis Colts.