Indianapolis Colts Football

Steve Weatherford

Posted by coltsindianapolis on February 4, 2012 – 10:00 am

 Kevin Bowen

3 February 2012

 Steve Weatherford shuns the typical stereotype surrounding punters.

A three-sport athlete in high school, Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes calls his holder the ‘best pound-for-pound’ athlete on New York’s roster.

That athleticism has brought Weatherford back to the state where he excelled in high school playing four sports and setting school records at Terre Haute North.

“I’m so excited,” Weatherford said. “What an opportunity, what a blessing, to do it in pretty much my home town is amazing.”

Born in Crown Point, Indiana, Weatherford lived in Louisiana until the age of 13. His family then moved to Terre Haute where Weatherford starred in high school before accepting a scholarship to the University of Illinois.

Terre Haute has put up a billboard wishing luck to Weatherford and the Giants. Since joining the NFL seven years ago, Weatherford has been active in giving back to the Terre Haute community.

After each game he often packages up little used cleats or other various clothing and equipment items he sees lying around the locker to send them back to Indiana.

“They gave so much to me,” Weatherford said of Terre Haute. “Being from Terre Haute with the poverty level double the state average there’s a lot of people in need, and there’s a lot of good people there that support me there and they were influential in my sports career and my upbringing. To be able to have the opportunity to be put in the position to give back so generously is a no brainer for me.”

On Sunday, Weatherford will have another opportunity to give back by capturing his first Super Bowl Title.

Weatherford said when the Super Bowl 2012 bid was announced years ago for Indianapolis his grandmother said how ‘cool’ it would be to watch her son play just 75 miles away from Terre Haute.

At the time Weatherford laughed off the pipedream but after the Giants have rattled off five in a row to end the regular season and start the playoffs his grandmother’s afterthought is 60 minutes away from becoming a reality.


Posted in Colts Blog

James Brewer

Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 2:00 am

Kevin Bowen

3 February 2012

 One year of high school football.

That is all Giants offensive tackle James Brewer needed to earn a plethora of major Division 1 scholarships before ultimately signing with Indiana University.

A basketball player early in his high school career, Brewer said Arlington High School Athletic Director Larry Nicks convinced the 6-foot 8-inch senior to hit the gridiron for his final year.

With only one year of game film to show potential suitors, Brewer is curious what might have happened if he put the pads on earlier in his career.

“I do wonder, but at the same I think it worked out it how it was supposed to,” Brewer said of playing just one year of high school football. “I think if anything I probably could have gotten some more exposure at the high school level but I definitely wouldn’t have changed anything.”

Brewer battled injuries at IU but started 21 games in his final two seasons before being drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Returning to Indianapolis this weekend, Brewer is perfectly fine with the circumstances he is under in coming home.

“To be back home for a cause such as the Super Bowl as opposed to coming home because the season is over is an added bonus,” Brewer said.

Along with linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, Brewer makes up the only two Indianapolis natives in the Super Bowl

“My mother works downtown so I was able to go hangout with her and see her yesterday,” Brewer said. “It’s just nice to be home in a comfortable setting.”

Five years ago Brewer was getting his first taste of competitive football and now the rookie has the chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy in his hometown.

“My main focus was first making the team and learning as much as I could,” Brewer said. “Coming out of the lockout I wasn’t even thinking about the Super Bowl, I was thinking I’ve got to learn my plays. The past couple of weeks have truly been really awesome.”

Posted by: Kevin Bowen


Posted in Colts Blog

Purdue meet New England

Posted by coltsindianapolis on February 3, 2012 – 11:23 am

 Kevin Bowen

3 February 2012

 

It is a unique connection.

Purdue meet New England. New England meet Purdue.

With three players hailing from West Lafayette, Purdue is tied with the University of Florida for the most players from one college on the Patriots roster.

Left tackle Matt Light is the longest tenured Boilermaker that will wear a Patriots uniform on Sunday.

He has blocked the blindside for Patriot quarterbacks in 153 of the past 155 regular season games.

The three-time Pro Bowler’s accolades extends back to his days at Purdue when he was a two-time All-Big Ten selection.

In his final season as a Boilermaker, Light helped lead Purdue to its first Big Ten Championship since 1967.

Light’s career at Purdue ended in 2000 and overlapped just one season with linebacker Niko Koutouvides.

Flash forward to 2011 and the two former Boilermakers have been re-united in another championship run.

When linebacker Niko Koutouvides got the call he had been waiting for this season, he was out working in his yard.

Koutouvides had been waiting for that call for two months after the Patriots cut him on Sept. 3.

The former All-Big 10 linebacker at Purdue has made the most of his opportunity to re-join the Patriots.

He is expected to play on all special teams units this Sunday while playing in his second ever Super Bowl (played with Seattle in 2006).

“You started your career here and now you’re back trying to win a Super Bowl here,” Koutouvides said of being back in Indiana. “It’s awesome. You see some similar places. You see some people you haven’t seen in a while. It’s a fun experience.”

The occasional smack talk goes around the Patriots locker room involving the three Boilermakers.

A fourth round draft pick of Seattle in 2004, Koutouvides started 32 games during his four years at Purdue.

For Koutouvides the chance to play for the Super Bowl would not have been possible without his tenure in West Lafaytte.

“The opportunity to play was there right away,” Koutouvides said. “I didn’t redshirt so I came in and actually played. The education was there. When I went there I met with the coaches and I felt like that was the spot to me.”

Posted by: Kevin Bowen


Posted in Colts Blog

Rob Ninkovich

Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 11:19 am

Kevin Bowen

3 February 2012

 

 

For Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich the road from construction worker to Super Bowl starter isn’t one travelled by many of the players that will take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.

A stop at Joliet Junior College preceded Ninkovich’s career at Purdue University which helped pave the way to a member of the Patriots linebacker corps.

The days of junior college seems like light years away for Ninkovich as he fielded questions at Super Media Day on Tuesday.

Prior to deciding to attend Joliet Junior College, Ninkovich worked from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. during the summer with his dad’s construction company.

Even though he will be on the game’s grandest stage come this weekend he will never forget what he has gone through for the opportunity that presents itself on Sunday.

“Coming out of high school I really wasn’t the biggest guy so I had to put on some weight, really develop, mature,” Ninkovich said. “That was the best option for me was to go to JJC and it made you really appreciate everything because I had my high school pads on. I had to buy my cleats, one pair of gloves the whole season, drive to practice every day, drive to games. It really just made me more hungry to continue.”

After two seasons at Joliet, Ninkovich made the move to Division 1 electing to play at Purdue University.  During Ninkovich’s two seasons in West Lafayette, he made five starts and was named second team All-Big Ten during his senior year.

Despite playing behind future NFL defensive ends Ray Edwards and Anthony Spencer, Ninkovich’s dream never wavered.

“I think that Purdue is obviously a great program and we’ve got a lot of guys in the NFL, a lot of defensive ends that were a little bit undersized and moved to the outside linebacker spot,” Ninkovich said. “It’s a great school, and I had great memories of being at Purdue.”

A native of Blue Island, Ill., Ninkovich will be playing just a few hours away from his hometown this weekend.

Ticket demand has been high for Ninkovich but he cut the list at five before the chaos became too immense.

“Just my family, mom, dad, sister, nephew, fiancé that’s it, because once you give a ticket to a cousin, everybody else wants one too, can’t open the floodgates,” Ninkovich said.

The professional career for Ninkovich has also been well traveled as he has bounced with three teams since 2007 before finding his niche in New England.

He has started every game this season at outside linebacker and now he hopes all the hard work will lead to the opportunity to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

“I’ve always had to prove people wrong I guess,” Ninkovich said. “My whole life I’ve been turning heads, guys just kind of overlook you and you go out there and just perform, because really your performance is what defines you as a player.”

Posted by: Kevin Bowen


Posted in Colts Blog

Justin Tuck

Posted by coltsindianapolis on February 2, 2012 – 8:39 am

 

Kevin Bowen

1 February 2012

                He will admit that he was barely 200 pounds.

When Giants defensive end Justin Tuck chose the University of Notre Dame as a high school senior he was a rail-then skill position player that had the body nowhere near a future Pro Bowler.

Tuck made the most of a Division I weight room and credited much of his physical development to former Notre Dame Strength and Conditioning Coach Mickey Marotti.

“Mickey Marotti called me his ‘ball of clay’ when I got there. He did a great job of just bulking me up for the position,” Tuck said. “In high school, I was more of a wide receiver/tight end/outside linebacker type and within a summer I gained 40 pounds of muscle.”

“If you ask him he had a lot of fun creating what I am today. But I knew to play this position I had to make a decision and go at it as hard as I could in the weight room, making sure I eat the right things. He’s a lot of the reason why I’ve been successful.”

Setting a pair of school records in sacks (24.5) and tackles behind the line of scrimmage (43), Tuck was a third round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2004.

While in high school in Alabama, Tuck won a pair of basketball state championships.

His athleticism has carried over to the football field as the versatile defensive lineman is gunning for his second Super Bowl ring.

The 2012 Super Bowl is a rematch of 2008 and Tuck’s Giants hope to have the same mindset they had four years ago whether favored or not.

“We didn’t really buy into all the underdog stuff last time,” Tuck said. “We knew it was there, and we knew nobody was giving us a shot, but we always believed in ourselves. It’s still the same here.”

“I hope to say it would be the same if we were favored or not, that we believe in our ourselves. We never really cared what other people outside of those guys in that locker room or our owners or our coaching staff has said anyway.”

As Tuck is nearing the end to his seventh season in the NFL, he has grown into a 275-pound frame and into one of the leaders of the Giants.

His return to the Midwest would be fitting if he could stir up some of the same magic he had just a few hours north under the Golden Dome.

“It’s good to be back close to home I guess,” Tuck said. “I know that I have a lot of support in Indiana. Hopefully I can wake up some echoes this week.”

Posted by: Kevin Bowen


Posted in Colts Blog

Mathias Kiwanuka

Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 8:38 am

Kevin Bowen

1 February 2012

                New York Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka has played for championships in Colts stadiums before.

During his sophomore and junior years at Cathedral High School, Kiwanuka and the Fighting Irish captured back-to-back IHSAA State Football Championships at the RCA Dome.

After sitting out the 2008 Super Bowl due to injury, the Indianapolis native now gets his turn back in his hometown to hoist another trophy in the state’s capitol.

“It’s very special. All of the stars lined up for this one,” Kiwanuka said. “Missing the last one was definitely tough. I have said before that when you miss any game it’s tough regardless of whether it’s a playoff game or a regular season game because this is my job and I like to be out here and I like to do it. Having the opportunity to be out here and be with guys on the field is nothing short of amazing.”

Having attended all his school up until Boston College in Indianapolis, the city holds a special place in the former All-America’s heart.

“It’s amazing, just the way the entire city has been behind us, it’s been awesome to experience this at home,” Kiwanuka said. “The way the entire city has been changed and developed the past 10 years, it’s amazing. I’m proud to be from Indianapolis. I’m proud to be here playing in the Super Bowl.”

Kiwanuka is one of just two players from Indianapolis (James Brewer) that will take the field on Sunday and he said the greatest thrill of being home is the chance to bond with his family.

“It was overwhelming at first but being home last night hanging with my mom and everybody, it was just fun,” Kiwanuka said. “This is something that I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life. Got some good home cooking, got to see my nieces and nephews, it was great.”

Even though Kiwanuka is a household name around these parts he is by no means the most well known member of his family.

His grandfather Benedicto was elected the Uganda’s first prime minister in 1961. Kiwanuka said all of his family members have a bit of his grandfather in them, which will come in handy while under the Super Bowl limelight on Sunday.

“You can see it in terms of my entire family and how everybody responds to different pressure situations, so if I have a little bit of his genes in me I definitely appreciate it,” Kiwanuka said.

Watching from the sideline in 2008 was difficult for Kiwanuka but now he gets another chance to play a direct role in a championship type performance in the city he grew up in.

“That’s the surreal part right there, that’s the part that is unbelievable,” Kiwanuka said. “As a kid you dream about playing in the biggest games, but you don’t ever expect it to be in your hometown especially when you are from Indianapolis. Getting this opportunity is great.”

 

Posted by: Kevin Bowen


Posted in Colts Blog