The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Pro Sports

August 25, 2013

Rayford could be Colts' latest diamond in the rough

ANDERSON — At 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds, very little Caesar Rayford does can be considered small.

But the Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker took another step Sunday toward the biggest accomplishment of his professional football career. With free-agent addition Lawrence Sidbury being placed on injured reserve with a shoulder ailment, Rayford's longshot bid to make the 53-man roster moved closer to reality.

The 27-year-old has spent parts of two seasons on the British Columbia Lions' practice squad in the Canadian Football League, played one season with the Spokane Shock in the Arena Football League's minor league and become a star in three seasons with the AFL's Utah Blaze since ending his college career at the University of Washington in 2007.

He was signed by the Colts on May 23 and now has a chance to become general manager Ryan Grigson's latest minor-league discovery. Tight end/fullback Dominique Jones made the roster last season fresh from the Indoor Football League's Reading Express, and starting inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman set a franchise record for tackles in 2012 after playing the previous three seasons for the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Rayford continued to state his case during Saturday's 27-6 victory against the Cleveland Browns, recording three tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble. He's been Indianapolis' most potent pass rusher throughout the preseason — with a team-high five sacks overall — but he remains humble about the whole experience.

"It's a good feeling," he said in the locker room Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. "I guess I'm just living the moment right now and savoring it."

Rayford told media at practice last week that some players come in the front door to the NFL and others sneak in the back.

"Then you got guys like me that got to climb the house and jump through the chimney," he said. "Hopefully, that landing doesn't hurt too bad and get back up. It's definitely blessed for the opportunity and getting found."

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