INDIANAPOLIS – Since March of 1984, the Colts have made Indianapolis their home. During those years, people throughout the organization have seen the city grow and prosper.
The business of football, such as the annual NFL Combine, and the games the club plays brings many visitors to Indianapolis. It is not uncommon for those visitors to speak quite highly of the city for its many cultural, entertainment and dining options.
The team has had many players through the years as well. Players come from nearly every geographic area to represent the team. With the team being here for an established period of time, the city has become home to some players whose careers are over.
Many former Colts players are happy to say why they decided to make Indianapolis their permanent home
Linebacker BARRY KRAUSS (Played in Indianapolis from 1984-88)
"I was one of the pilgrims who came with the team from Baltimore to settle in Indianapolis," said former Colts linebacker Barry Krauss. "I saw it was called the 'Crossroads of America.' I had known the city had the Greatest Spectacle in Sports – the Indianapolis 500. What I found out when I arrived was that it was an outstanding place with great people. I will never forget how great it felt when I went downtown Indy to the Hoosier Dome to the Colts pep rally. There were about 25,000 people there to witness the rally. It was an exciting time. The people welcomed us warmly, and it was a great feeling. I fed off that positive energy and had two of my best seasons in 1984 and 1985. Fast forward 20 years after ending my career with the Dolphins in my home state, I live here with my three children and love it. I have been truly blessed, and it has been a wonderful experience living here in Indianapolis. In sports, it is about putting yourself in position to make something happen, then it us up to you to seize the moment. I feel like I did. I feel like Indianapolis was supposed to happen for me. I knew quickly it was my home, my Hoosier home!"
Quarterback MARK HERRMANN (Played in Indianapolis from 1984, 90-92)
"I chose Indianapolis to be my permanent home because it has a big city feel with small town charm," said former Colts quarterback Mark Herrmann. "It is a surprising destination for many because a lot of people still have the perception that it is a drive-through on the way to Cincinnati or Chicago.
"Indianapolis residents have a great deal of pride in the city. We feel like we do things the right way. We host mega-events and receive rave reviews. We do things in an understated fashion and let others judge for themselves.
"I think there is a closeness to the community that players enjoy. So many Colts players have chosen to make Indianapolis their home. I know they feel they will be treated with respect and dignity.
"I have been in Indianapolis off and on for more than 40 years. I have seen the transformation. People used to be a little insecure about living here and saying they were from Indianapolis. Not anymore. There is a great sense of growth and accomplishment! The success of the Colts has played a big part in the "big league" feeling that exists. But, that is only part of it. I love the downtown excitement now. There are so many reasons to venture downtown other than attending sporting events.
"I really enjoy living here. I love the people, tolerate the weather, enjoy the sports scene and hope people come and experience Indianapolis for themselves. We always told our kids to go and experience different parts of the country. See the different coasts and enjoy different cultures. But in the end, we know they will be back."
Defensive Back MIKE PRIOR (Played in Indianapolis from 1987-92)
"This is a great city and it helped in that I grew up on the south side of Chicago, in Chicago Heights," said former Colts safety Mike Prior. "It's not a bad drive up there to visit family. Indianapolis is not as busy as Chicago. It has a lot to offer. It's really grown up since I've been here. I've lived here since 1987, so it's going on 25 years. There is a lot to do, and it is easy to get around. You're 30 minutes away from anything you want to do. It's a great place to raise a family, and that was important to me. I now have one daughter left in college and two out of college, and I think they love this town, too. It's just really nice. It's a safe town. It's wonderful community, and the people help it be that way. They are great people to be around."
Wide Receiver BILL BROOKS (Played in Indianapolis from 1986-92)
"I would say back in 1988-89, I decided that I liked Indianapolis," said former Colts wide receiver Bill Brooks. "Indianapolis is a nice place to live and a good place to get involved with the community. I enjoyed it. I would say back then, 1988-89. The people here were one of the factors. People here were very friendly, very open, very nice and they wanted you to get involved with the community and help when you can. Also I met my wife here. She's from here in Indianapolis. That had a lot to do with it. I look back and I have enjoyed every moment of it thus far."
Punter HUNTER SMITH (Played in Indianapolis from 1999-2008)
"I think there were stages. When I went to college at Notre Dame, I grew to love the state," said former Colts punter Hunter Smith. "I never thought I would get drafted by Indy, but then I did. After living here a couple of years, I really became fond of the place. (I) married a girl from here. That was another step in the whole thing and the decision-making process. After living here for a while, having our children here, I just started to say, 'I love the people. I love the state. I love the city. I love our community, in particular here.' On top of that, all the success and the enjoyment of playing for the Colts, I got to go experience living somewhere else. That makes you appreciate home even more. That really was a nail in the whole thing for us. This is where we are supposed to be. We were supposed to come back and pour into the community and raise our children."
Wide Receiver DARVELL HUFFMANN (Played in Indianapolis in 1991)
"Even though I did not play long for the Colts after I arrived in 1990, I grew to enjoy the city very quickly. Coming from the Boston area, this was much different than what I grew up in, but it was easy to adapt to the surroundings. I like the size of the city and how efficiently it seems to operate compared to others. It is clean and easy to get around in, and there always is something going on. People who visit me like it as well, and I am glad I made the decision years ago to stay. This has become a good home."
Defensive Tackle ELLIS JOHNSON (Played in Indianapolis from 1995-2001)
"It was awesome to have played here. I think about it all the time. Coming from a little town, Wildwood, Florida, actually Royal, Florida, but no one can find it, to come from that environment and get to play in the NFL, I thank the Colts over and over and over again for giving me that opportunity. I loved the chance to come here, and it has been a great place for me and my family. This is a great place to live if you want to raise a family. You have the best of both worlds. You don't necessarily have to live inside the circle, but you have access to what all the circle has to offer in 10 to 15 minutes. You have access to all the activities and shows. It's not the ultra-big city, but you have the big city things if you want them. It is an outstanding place in every aspect.
"I'm from the country. I'd never been exposed to city life, suburban life. Indianapolis ended up being a great place for my kids. That was the reason we elected to stay here. Even when I went to Atlanta, I kept my kids in school here. The schools where we send our kids are good. We will finish our kids' schooling here."