The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports

November 27, 2013

Colts' McNary prepares for unlikely NFL debut

INDIANAPOLIS — It's been nearly three years since Josh McNary last played a football game.

His senior season at Army ended with a 16-14 win against SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30, 2010. McNary scored a touchdown on a 55-yard fumble return for the Black Knights' first points and finished with three tackles and an assisted sack.

Then he began a two-year enlistment as a lieutenant stationed at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

On Sunday, McNary expects to return to the gridiron to make his NFL debut with the Indianapolis Colts.

"It feels good," the inside linebacker said Wednesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "The same thing has been running through my mind, just the fact I haven't really been able to go after somebody or have somebody go after me at game speed. That just adds on to the excitement I'm feeling."

McNary was a defensive end in college, and it was widely assumed when he signed with Indianapolis this spring he'd be used as a pass-rushing outside linebacker. But he did most of his work in training camp on the inside.

He suffered a hamstring injury a week and a half into camp and missed the rest of the preseason. The Colts kept him on the eight-man practice squad, but it took some time for McNary to get back into game shape.

"I was sidelined seven weeks and had to build myself back up," he said. "I had to get back into football shape after the injury. That really took about three weeks."

Indianapolis liked what it saw in practice enough to elevate McNary to the 53-man roster on Tuesday. That doesn't guarantee he'll play Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Tennessee Titans — the Colts must list seven players as inactive each game day — but head coach Chuck Pagano sounded Wednesday like a man willing to give McNary a shot.

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