INDIANAPOLIS –Three plays into the game at Detroit, Jeff Linkenbach entered the lineup when left guard Joe Reitz was concussed.
The role was not strange for Linkenbach since he started four games there previously this year when Reitz hurt a knee.
The fourth quarter brought a different wrinkle when right tackle Winston Justice was concussed and Linkenbach shifted there and was replaced by A.Q. Shipley.
Linkenbach performed for Justice as the Colts rallied with two late touchdowns in a 35-33 win. The selfless performer came in for praise from teammates for his play.
"When injuries happen in a game, you can shuffle guys like Jeff (Linkenbach) in. He stepped in at left guard and moved over to right tackle during the game," said guard Seth Olsen. "He's a really modest guy. He won't pump his chest or point to the name on the back of his jersey.
"He's a very talented guy who can play a lot of snaps. He played every offensive snap last year. He's a great player, and his versatility helps when our backs are against the wall."
Linkenbach also started two previous games at right tackle this year.
He started three games at right guard and one at left tackle as a rookie in 2010. In 2011, Linkenbach was one of two Colts linemen to open every game, doing so 12 times at right tackle and four at left tackle.
Anthony Castonzo says there is a reason beyond brawn that allows Linkenbach to prosper.
"I think it is how smart Jeff is. You have to be real smart just to get your body to move two different ways on the left side and the right side of the line," said Castonzo. "Playing left guard in a game is one thing, but playing left guard and right tackle (in one game) is extremely difficult.
"His intelligence is a big factor in why he is able to do that. Link has our utmost respect for everything he does. It (playing multiple positions) definitely is a badge of honor."
Linkenbach is like many linemen who are reluctant to speak about themselves. With prodding, he talked about his approach to helping the team by playing where needed.
"I've done it before. I've played all over the line during my career," said Linkenbach. "Playing that way can be tough, but it's what we needed to do. It's something I've learned to do.
"The more you can do to help the team, especially as an offensive lineman, is important. We're not too involved in special teams. The more positions you can play, it increases your chances of being a contributor. I will do whatever I can to get on the field. Whatever needs to be done, I'm all about."
Castonzo was willing to expound further on Linkenbach, one of the locker room's quieter performers.
"I think he's one of the most valuable guys on our offense," said Castonzo. "Knowing we have a guy who can fill in anywhere is tremendous. He's one of the most valuable guys on the offense.
"There's no telling what's going to happen in a game at any moment. It's more the willingness (to try another position) than anything else. A lot of guys are able to play to play different positions. A lot of guys just are not willing to do it. I think we have good team chemistry where everyone is willing to do their part to help the team win."