It’s not easy following a legend. When your predecessor has been a fixture of the offense for 13 seasons and one of the most popular members of the community, coming in as his replacement can be a daunting task.
No, this isn’t about Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning. The man who will be snapping the ball to Luck, Samson Satele, is replacing a legend in his own right.
Jeff Saturday started his career with the Colts in 1999, only a year after Manning’s arrival. Once he won the starting job, he would stay there, starting an amazing 188 regular season games for Indianapolis.
When Manning departed for Denver, most thought Saturday would follow him there or retire. Instead, despite an earnest effort from the Colts to resign Saturday to help mentor Luck, he signed with Green Bay to make one more title run with another legend in the making, Aaron Rodgers.
That left the Colts in need of an experienced center to anchor the offensive line and ease Luck’s transition to the NFL. Fortunately for them, Samson Satele was available.
Satele enters his sixth NFL season having made 74 starts for the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the second round in 2007, and the Oakland Raiders.
This year’s camp in Anderson marks the third different training site for Satele in those six seasons. Satele was glowing when asked how his experience thus far with the Colts compared to his other stops.
“It’s the best training camp by far,” Satele said. “Even though it’s a new staff, everybody here has a lot of NFL experience. Coach is really emphasizing family and they treat you that way.”
It’s not just a football transition either. A native of Hawaii, Satele is getting his first taste of living in the Midwest. And even though Indianapolis lacks an ocean (Morse Beach and Geist Reservoir don’t count) Samson loves his new Hoosier neighbors.
“The people are really nice. When I first got here and was looking for a house, people were waving all the time and saying ‘Hi.’ Very different from the West Coast.”
Satele does look forward to getting back to Hawaii in the off-season. When he’s not calling out blitzers and protecting Andrew Luck, Samson enjoys listening to music and spending time with his family. An island boy at heart, he says he enjoys reggae and native Hawaiian Island music the most.
Once camp is finished and he gets to return home, Samson says that’s when the real work begins. The father of three boys, ages three, two and one, Satele says keeping up with them is “like a full practice.”
Satele has drawn rave reviews from his new quarterback. Andrew Luck said that Samson was “a sharp guy, on who takes a lot of pride in what he does.” Head coach Chuck Pagano echoed those sentiments, saying he was very pleased with how Luck and Satele were developing “a great amount of chemistry in a short amount of time.
If an NFL center does his job well, fans hardly know he’s there as the focus is all on the quarterback. Satele will be hard to miss, however, with his trademark mane of black hair flowing from his helmet.
Andrew Luck, for one, is happy about that as he said it will keep him from lining up under one of the guards. “All I’ve got to do is look for the hair.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Jeff Saturday, Samson Satele
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