If any member of the Indianapolis Colts has reason to be disgruntled, it would be Donald Brown.
If he was a different kind of player, he might be angling for his agent to leak signs of discontent to the media right now. He was a first-round pick out of Connecticut in 2009, and his numbers improved in each of his first three NFL seasons.
But injuries limited him to 10 games last year, in the first season of the Ryan Grigson-Chuck Pagano regime, and he lost his job as the starting running back to Vick Ballard. In the offseason, Brown was mostly an afterthought.
The Colts first signed free agent Ahmad Bradshaw then traded a first-round pick for Trent Richardson after Ballard was lost to a season-ending injury following Week 2 of the regular season. Brown began the season as a special teams captain but has served as Richardson's primary backup the past two weeks with Bradshaw nursing a neck injury.
Instead of complaining about his role — or even looking to force an exit in the final year of his contract — Brown has been the consummate good soldier. He's averaged a robust 8.3 yards per carry on just 19 rushing attempts, and that's just part of why it was so good to see him emphatically spiking the football in the end zone after scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter Sunday against Seattle.
Brown sees nothing special in his team-first approach.
"You just prepare for all situations," he said. "You have to prepare like you're the starter no matter what the situation is. When your number's called, make the most of every opportunity, whether you're on offense or on special teams."
Brown had little game experience on special teams before this season, but he didn't hesitate to jump in when asked. Though that trait hasn't always served him well.