Playing collegiately at Washington and in the CFL with the British Columbia Lions, Caesar Rayford has played in front of large crowds in passionate settings.
He also cut some football teeth in the Arena League while playing for Spokane and later from 2010-12 with the Utah Blaze.
Rayford made his Colts debut Sunday against Buffalo and did so in memorable fashion.
With Buffalo ahead in the fourth quarter and threatening for more points, Rayford defeated his blocker and swooped in on quarterback Jeff Tuel. He caught Tuel’s arm and forced a fumble that cornerback Daxton Swanson recovered and returned 72 yards for a touchdown.
Since scoring plays and sudden-change snaps like that are reviewed, Rayford and Swanson had to wait for the ruling to be upheld.
“I was not sure. I didn’t know if I got his arm or anything,” said Rayford. “After watching the replay, I said, ‘Oh, I got his arm.’ I know I reached for it. It definitely felt good once everything was conclusive.”
Rayford (6-7, 267) is like every rookie in camp – trying to do enough to earn the right nod from the coaches.
After experiencing butterflies while coming out of the Lucas Oil Stadium tunnel to start the game, he punctuated things with the sack-fumble that narrowed the margin to 10 points.
“It felt good. I was out there doing what I could to make plays,” said Rayford. “At first, I didn’t know what happened for a second then after everything got put together, I said, ‘Oh, I made a play.’ ”
He had 5.5 sacks in 35 games at Washington. With Utah, he had 68 tackles, 22.5 sacks, 26.5 tackles for losses, seven forced and recovered fumbles and two interception returns for touchdowns.
Rayford also blocked six kicks, including an AFL seasonal record of five in 2011.
The All-Arena talent knows it takes a motor to make plays.
“I’ve had a couple of (shared scoring plays) playing Arena Ball,” said Rayford. “A couple of years ago, I had some forced fumbles for touchdowns, blocked a kick for a game-winning (score). I’ve made some plays here and there.”
Indianapolis needs to increase its takeaway total from the 15 it had last year. The Colts’ four defensive touchdowns in 2013 all came on interceptions, so the sack-fumble-touchdown was a good sign.
“I kind of have a knack for getting it sometimes,” said Rayford. “It’s just hustling and busting your tail, working, working, working. You never know when that play is going to come.
“As long as I work, it’s going to come. I’m just working my tail off. It made my day, definitely.”
Tags: Caesar Rayford, Daxton Swanson, indianapolis colts
Posted in Colts Blog