The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Pro Sports

August 14, 2013

'Mr. Irrelevant' quickly becomes necessary for Colts

ANDERSON, Ind. — Justice Cunningham took a lingering look around Lucas Oil Stadium early Sunday afternoon and briefly wondered what he'd gotten himself into.

The Indianapolis Colts announced 66,181 tickets were distributed for the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills, and as the players came out to warm up just before the 1:30 p.m. kickoff Cunningham was soaking in the sights.

He'd seen plenty of big crowds before as a member of college football's most prestigious league, the Southeastern Conference, during his days at South Carolina. But he still allowed the enormity of the NFL to wash over him for just a moment.

By the time the music started playing over the public address system, the rookie tight end had relaxed. What was coming next was just football, and he was back in his element.

But the day held one final surprise.

When the Indianapolis offense took possession after the opening kickoff, Cunningham was sent into the huddle with the starters for the first play from scrimmage.

"I was kind of caught off guard because we had another play set up (that did not call for two tight ends)," he said following Wednesday's morning walkthrough at Anderson University. "But when they called it, it was a play that we've run 100 times. So it came to me easily."

Cunningham's start Sunday came as a result of a foot injury to second-year tight end Dwayne Allen. He ended up playing in spurts throughout the game and even made a bit of history.

His 17-yard reception from third-string quarterback Chandler Harnish is believed to be the first completion from one "Mr. Irrelevant" — the moniker handed to the final selection each year in the NFL draft — to another.

Harnish was the final pick by the Colts in 2012, and Cunningham was the team's last selection in April. During their brief time together, the two players already have formed a common bond.

Text Only
Pro Sports
  • luck watch.jpg Colts Quick Hits: Saturday, July 26

    Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University.
     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0726 - Thomas - Colts Camp day two 252 Versatility personified: Thomas tries to recapture '13 start

    With the rash of injuries a year ago among the offensive skill players for the Indianapolis Colts, some might have forgotten the excellent start by guard Donald Thomas.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0726 - Mathis - Colts Camp day two 101 Mathis getting lighter workload as Colts get creative

    Robert Mathis is caught in an interesting predicament. The veteran outside linebacker finds himself preparing as hard as he can to play a football season that he will watch for the first month on television. That's the result of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, and it means fans will see less of the league's reigning sack champion on the practice field.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0726-Ballard2-ColtsCampdaytwo267.jpg Ballard carted off practice field

    The first scary moment of Indianapolis Colts training camp came Friday afternoon courtesy of running back Vick Ballard. The former Mississippi State star went to the ground early in the public practice after catching an undefended pass in individual drills.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0726 - Thornton - Colts Camp day two 200 Healthy Thornton 'having a blast' at Colts Camp

    Hugh Thornton is making up for lost time. After missing the majority of training camp with an injured ankle as a rookie last summer, the offensive lineman reported a day early to Anderson University this week.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0725 - Colts Camp - 007 CB Darius Butler holds tight to No. 20 The number 20 has grown to mean something to Darius Butler. The former second-round pick was running out of chances when the Indianapolis Colts signed him during the 2012 season. Eleven starts and eight interceptions later, he’s ingrained as the team’s slot cornerback — working under the final season of a two-year, $4 million deal.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_3703.JPG Colts Quick Hits: Friday, July 25

    Notes, news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0725-ColtsCamp-080.jpg Colts Camp Update: Colts urging caution with vets, injured players

    Reggie Wayne isn't the only veteran player whose snaps are being watched as practice begins at Indianapolis Colts training camp.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0725-ColtsCamp-128.jpg Luck plans to use preseason time wisely

    Managing the situations that crop up during a football game is at the top of Andrew Luck's to-do list. But his more immediate concern is maximizing every snap of training camp at Anderson University.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • irsay.jpg Colts Camp Blog: Irsay's expectations and other musings

    News and notes of interest from Colts Training Camp in Anderson.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos