So far, so good.
With seven catches for 75 yards in his first three preseason games, Heyward-Bey slowly is erasing the doubts.
"Ever since I was about 1 year old, I've had confidence," he said Monday at the team's practice facility. "Each and every day, I just got to remind myself that I'm a good player and I can be good at what I do as long as I keep working. I got to wake up with that confidence. That's what I just got to remind myself."
Anyone who saw Heyward-Bey in training camp wouldn't think of questioning his work ethic.
He came out early before each afternoon practice — wearing a t-shirt and sporting headphones — to put in extra work on the JUGS machine. Sometimes quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen would join him, pulling at his shirt or tugging at his arms as Heyward-Bey attempted to focus on the football.
When he'd had enough reps, Heyward-Bey hopped on a golf cart to return to the locker room and get ready for practice.
Veteran teammate Reggie Wayne — a future Hall of Fame candidate — spent much of the summer raving about the receiver known by his initials as DHB. Wayne believes Heyward-Bey has the physical tools to match some of the game's top wideouts — guys like Detroit's Calvin Johnson and Houston's Andre Johnson.
But there have always been questions about Heyward-Bey's hands. They've been the asterisk to his career thus far and part of the reason he's so willing to put in so much work.
Wayne said whatever happened in Oakland can stay in Oakland, and the Colts have welcomed DHB's fresh start with open arms.
"Anybody in here would tell you he's a great teammate, great personality and he works his butt off," quarterback Andrew Luck said. "His work ethic is very impressive. I think obviously Reggie sort of sets the tone in the wide receiver meeting rooms in terms of work ethic and preparation, and DHB fits right in. I think every day we've gotten a better connection, and he's done a great job so far."