Winston Justice knows “big” when he sees it. As a lineman at USC, he blocked for three Heisman Trophy winners and was part of a team that contended for the national championship every year. In his six years as a Philadelphia Eagle, he went to the playoffs four times.
So it bears listening to when Justice says that this collection of Colts’ linemen could be “something big.”
Justice knows that “NFL” often means “not for long.” The business side of the game necessitates roster turnover and change. Because of that, he’s not overly concerned with the lack of experience the Colts’ line has with each other.
“Sometimes in the NFL it’s like that. It’s very rare that you find five guys that have played together for a very long time. Hopefully this group will play together for a long time.”
Justice credits head coach Chuck Pagano’s infectious enthusiasm for the pace of development that has observers anxious to see them take the field Sunday against St. Louis.
“He’s really intense. He expects a lot in practice. These are some of the hardest practices I’ve ever had to go through.”
Having played for Andy Reid for the entirety of his NFL career, that’s high praise for Pagano. Justice is mourning the loss this week of Reid’s eldest son, Garrett, who was found dead at Eagles camp at Lehigh University on Monday. Garrett Reid had served as a weight coach for the Eagles, so Justice had gotten to know him very well. Although he hadn’t had an opportunity to speak directly to Andy Reid or anyone with the Eagles, Justice was clearly saddened and shaken by Garrett’s untimely passing.
Justice comes to Indianapolis with a reputation for being involved in the community, something that has been valued highly within the Colts organization. He says getting plugged in here in Indianapolis is a “main focus” and that he’s looking forward to continuing his community service here.
Justice can already see that Indianapolis is “a real family town” and is confident that he and his family will fit in well here, despite it being somewhat “opposite” of Justice’s previous homes in Southern California and Philadelphia.
“My wife’s from the midwest, so she’s used to it…I think we’ll like it here.”
Justice’s veteran presence will go a long way toward helping this young line come together. Once that happens, Justice’s word could become prophetic if the Colts go on to “something big.”
Tags: Andy Reid, winston justice
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