Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is relentless in trying to build the back end of his 53-man roster.
Sure the glitz and the glamour of the starters dominate the headlines but it’s acquiring guys who might be out of football or searching for another opportunity to fulfill that dream that Grigson truly appreciates.
Robert Hughes fits that mold.
In less than two seasons, Hughes has bounced around four different practice squads.
The Colts were the fourth team he found after signing with Indianapolis on Oct. 9.
Hughes had been released from the Washington Redskins on Sept. 11 and was waiting for another call.
Little did Hughes know that come late October he would be called up to the Colts active roster and contributing for a team in the thick of the AFC playoff picture.
“It’s the fact that I get to go out there and help this team win,” Hughes said. “When you work hard and continue to fight for stuff like this, it’s good to kind of see things starting to fall into place.”
With the Colts rushing attack starting to develop the last four weeks, Hughes has been apart of that success from the fullback position.
During his days at the University of Notre Dame, Hughes was a tailback and found success in short yardage and goal line situations.
Did he ever think he would become an NFL fullback?
“Never did. Never crossed my mind,” Hughes said of moving to fullback. “But it’s an opportunity to be here in this league and it’s a privilege. You have to do whatever the coaches and your teammates ask you to do.”
Bruce Arians has never been a ‘fullback guy’ but likes the skillet that Hughes possess.
“I really like (Hughes) as a football player. He brings a bright, strong player who can play multiple positions and he’ll be a good special teams player,” Arians said.
“I see him more as a running back who can play fullback and gives us good quality depth. Big, power back and I didn’t really know he could do this job. He’s found a nice niche for himself. He’s got great hands. Again, he brings another receiver with some speed on the field. He’s not a traditional thud fullback.”
Hughes, who measures in at five-feet-11-inches and 235 pounds, made his NFL debut against the Dolphins and recorded his first career catch last Thursday against the Jaguars.
His contributions offensively have come mainly in short yardage situations while being paired in the backfield with 238-pound Delone Carter.
“He gets in there, puts is helmet on a defender and finds his way through the line to the defender very well. He’s very useful for us,” Carter said.
The use of a fullback is something that Colts fans haven’t been accustomed to as defensive players have tended to occupy that position for much of the past few seasons.
A running back turned fullback sits just fine with Hughes and his ability to impact the game in more ways than one is why Grigson and his staff brought him onto the active roster.
“It’s been a great opportunity,” Hughes said. “The more you can do in this league, the longer you can stay around. I’m just trying to do as much as possible and as much as the coaches can ask of me to do.”
Tags: bruce arians, Delone Carter, robert hughes
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