ANDERSON — Reggie Dunn's signing by New England on Tuesday did not draw the fanfare of former Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch's arrival in Indianapolis.
But, make no mistake, Dunn is playing a vital role in preparation for Saturday's AFC divisional playoff game.
A speedster coming out of the University of Utah, the undrafted rookie has spent time with Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Cleveland and Miami at some point this season. He set an NCAA record with five 100-yard kickoff return touchdowns, and that kind of quickness is a highly sought after commodity in the NFL.
Living up to his reputation to leave no detail undissected, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick brought Dunn onboard with one specific purpose: emulate Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton in practice this week.
That's the kind of attention a 24-year-old draws when he catches 13 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns in just his second career playoff game.
"When Reg went down, the main thing he always told me was when my number is called, make sure I'm ready," Hilton said, referencing veteran teammate Reggie Wayne's season-ending knee injury. "Right now, my number is being called, and I'm ready. I'll make sure I'm in the spots (quarterback) Andrew (Luck) wants me in and he's delivering the ball."
Hilton most certainly was in the right spot late in the fourth quarter last Saturday against Kansas City. With the Colts in the midst of the second-largest comeback in playoff history and facing first down at their own 36-yard line, Luck turned to his receiver as the offense broke the huddle and said, "Run, just run."
He ran past Chiefs defensive backs Quentin Demps and Kendrick Lewis, splitting them on a seam route straight down the middle of the field. And he kept running after Luck placed a perfect pass into his hands directly in stride.