Touchdown Balls Serve As Special Keepsakes For Colts Players

Intro: Following a touchdown or turnover Colts players celebrate in a variety of ways, but where does that pigskin go after those game changing plays?

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INDIANAPOLIS – Jack Doyle was in an admitted daze.

How could you blame the local kid for being in such a state after he scored his first NFL touchdown, on Monday Night Football, in a stadium just a few miles from the home in which he grew up?

As Doyle extended for the pylon in the Colts' Week Two matchup against the Eagles, the ball came loose after he crossed the goal line.

Commotion ensued as teammates congratulated the Colts' young tight end, before Doyle quickly remembered that he needed to stay on the field for the extra point. The thought of where his first career touchdown ball was wasn't of importance.

Luckily for Doyle, a man with more than 80 such touchdowns knew that ball was a memento.

When Doyle returned to the sideline, there was Reggie Wayne, a man the Indianapolis native watched so many times growing up, waiting with the prized keepsake.

"That's pretty cool growing up and cheering for Reggie and being a fan of his, and for him to grab the ball just shows the type of classy guy that he is," Doyle said, looking back on his first score.

Wayne is a veteran of what to do with touchdown balls.

T.Y. Hilton is getting to that level. Hilton, who varies his touchdown dances between the 'T, Y' and his leaping spike, has a method behind his choice.

The rule for Hilton is pretty self-explanatory if he wants to keep the ball, he does the 'T, Y'. If not, then he spikes it.

The spike is a popular choice among the Colts' skill players.

Earlier this year, Trent Richardson looked at his touchdown ball wrapped up in his locker, knowing that the pigskin was heading for a great cause. Since Richardson was in Cleveland, he has donated to auctions for groups fighting cancer or lupus, or for the Boys and Girls Clubs.

"I go out and sign my footballs and give it to one of them or have them auction it off for their group," Richardson said. "It depends who needs it the most."

Ahmad Bradshaw is pretty emphatic with his touchdown spikes and he knows exactly what his favorite one is in eight NFL seasons.

It came back in 2012 when Bradshaw tumbled into the end zone for the game-winning score of Super Bowl XLVI.

"I think I ended up going back and getting that one. I slammed it and I was like, 'Go back and get it,' Bradshaw said of his Super Bowl touchdown at Lucas Oil Stadium.

At the age of 39, Matt Hasselbeck has thrown 201 career touchdown passes. He has worked around the trickiness of whether the pass catcher or quarterback should get to keep the touchdown ball.

"Basically, my rule of thumb is if the receiver spikes it and doesn't keep it, then I would just go grab it and keep it. If you didn't want it, then I'll keep it," the 16-year veteran said. "My kids have taken all those balls and have started playing with them, so it has to be a really special ball for me to keep it now."

Flip over to the defensive side of things and the Colts' secondary is a little greedier with how the members handle their turnover/touchdown balls.

Vontae Davis takes home any game ball he receives.

Greg Toler gives many to his mom, including the ball from his 102-yard interception return for a touchdown with the Cardinals two years ago.

Safety Mike Adams, an 11-year veteran, isn't giving up any ball. "Every last one of them. Every turnover that I've ever got, they come off the field with me," Adams said.

For Darius Butler, he was quickly introduced to the value of any turnover ball.

"I remember my first pick ever, I kind of threw it on the field and (then-Patriots safety) Brandon Meriweather just grabbed it and said, 'Hey man, you've got to keep all of these. You only get so many,'" Butler said recalling the interception.

Of course, no one inside the Colts' locker room has the magnitude of memorabilia of one Adam Vinatieri. The future Hall of Famer has the pigskins of a pair of game-winning field goals from Super Bowls and shared a great story from his first one.

"I had a field goal earlier in the game that our equipment guy forgot to get in the first half," Vinatieri said. "I said, 'No big deal. There's bigger things.'

"As the game progresses, he comes to me with a minute and a half left and we just got the ball and he says, 'You hit it, I'll get it.' He takes off running down the sideline and sure enough at the end of the game, I think he got into a physical altercation with people in the back of the net. But he in fact got the ball, put it in the trunk, locked it up, came to me looking like he had been in a fist fight."

"I very seldom look at Super Bowl balls or rings, but they do mean the world to me and something I'll pass on to my kids later on."

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