The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Pro Sports

December 8, 2013

Colts GameDay: From rugby, with love


Daniel Adongo had just one question before his first workout for the Indianapolis Colts.

Did the team want him to run barefoot, or should he pull on his cleats?

The 24-year-old Kenyan represents one of the biggest gambles in NFL history. He flew to America for the first time to sign with the team in July, and to this day he's never played a live game of football.

That could change at 1 p.m. when the Colts kickoff against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Adongo, once a rising rugby prospect who quit a job at the sport's highest level to chase an incredible dream, was promoted to Indianapolis' 53-man roster earlier this week and could make his NFL debut today on special teams.

"I am excited," the 6-foot-5 prospective outside linebacker said at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "As I said before, and I'll reiterate it, my excitement is being subdued by the fact I have a task, an obligation and a duty to perform what's being asked from me for the coaches and my teammates. That said, I have to perform those tasks and forget about my emotions. Team first."

Again, this is far from the average NFL rookie.

Adongo arrived in Indianapolis in July fresh from the Southern Kings of the Super 15 Rugby league, the highest professional level of the sport in the world. He hopped off a 17-hour flight in Atlanta and a made a connection to Indiana.

Shortly after that first in-person workout for the coaches and front office staff, it was off to Anderson University for training camp. There teammates reminded Adongo on a daily basis to bring his helmet out to the field for practice.

He'd never played American football, and what knowledge he possessed came from the video game series promoted by John Madden. He couldn't get into a proper stance, and he spent most practices watching from the sideline to soak in as much as possible.

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