ANDERSON, IN --- Colts fourth-round rookie safety Clayton Geathers certainly has the pedigree to perform early on in the NFL (five of his family members played in the NFL), and he's already getting the opportunity to earn a role in training camp.
Geathers, like he was during OTAs, is getting on the field with the first team in dime defense (six defensive back formations), but working as a box safety. These reps are often coming in obvious passing situations on 3rd downs, where Geathers subs in for starting inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson.
"It's a blessing. Coming in, you really didn't know what to expect, and like Coach said, 'Don't be a rookie. Be a pro.' That was my mindset coming in," said Geathers Tuesday. "Whatever Coach wanted me to do, whatever I had to learn, I was going to put my best effort towards it, and that's what I did."
His 12th-year veteran safety counterpart has been thoroughly impressed with Geathers too.
"I think he's further ahead of most rookies," said Mike Adams Saturday. "Most rookies when they come in you have to put them in one position and one position only, until they get everything else down. Here we threw him in the fire. He was at safety. He was at dime. He was back-and-forth, a lot of special teams. He was doing a lot of different things."
So, in his 11 year career, how impressed is Adams with that?
"For him to pick it up that quick, I was amazed," Adams said. "I can expect a lot of big things from him and for him to help us out tremendously.
Don't mistake this rookie's early reps with the first team as an indication of an easy learning curve though. Geathers has put in the time since arriving in Indianapolis.
"What you put in is what you get out. That was my approach towards anything," Geathers explained. "I'm putting a lot into it. So, I should be happy with the results."
Geathers sees himself as a well-rounded safety, a big hitter but also a coverage safety when needed. If he is going to play on 3rd downs, that will be crucial, as quarterbacks like to test the rookies. For now, he's just worried about the next practice and continuing to impress his coaches.
"It's very exciting. I'm just taking it one day at a time. You can't look at what's going to happen tomorrow or the next day," said Geathers. "I got to handle what's going to happen today."
Such is the life of an NFL rookie, but Geathers has already become one to watch this preseason.