This could be a very important few months for third-year wide receiver Roy Hall.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound native of Lyndhurst, Ohio, has battled the injury bug during his first two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. Both years, Hall was hurt while a member of the Colts’ special teams kick coverage units.

Those injuries have kept the former Ohio State standout from really showing what he can do on offense. But with the release of veteran Marvin Harrison in February and the decision to shift former slot receiver Anthony Gonzalez to fill Harrison’s spot on the right side of the Indianapolis offense, opposite primary receiver Reggie Wayne, there’s a job to be had.

Hall — along with Pierre Garcon and rookie Austin Collie — figures to be among the leading candidates to take over for Gonzalez. Nobody has been penciled into the slot receiver role just yet. While Garcon may have the inside track after putting together a strong spring during the team’s organized team activities and minicamps, the competition is expected to get fierce over the next week or so.  

“This is an opportunity to make a name for yourself. You really try not to buy into the whole ‘who’s going to be the third or fourth receiver’ because then you lose your focus. And in this instance, I’ve been around for two years now. I know the position isn’t won on just one practice,” he explained Tuesday.

“There’s training camp and you have to go through the preseason games. You’ve got to do it every day when the regular season starts as well. This is an opportunity for me to come out, show what I can do and just hope for the best.”

That being said, Hall knows that he’ll be watched closely by first-year head coach Jim Caldwell, receivers coach Clyde Christensen and, most importantly, quarterback Peyton Manning. It’s especially tough for a young receiver to gain the confidence of Manning, who wants to make the most out of every play. 

Drop too many passes or run the wrong route too many times and there’s a pretty good chance you may not see the ball for a while. Which makes what transpires in training camp this year crucial to Hall’s chances of earning a regular role in the Colts’ receiving rotation.

“I know what’s expected of me. And I’m out there competing just as hard as I can, giving it my all. If every day I go out and give my all, then everything will take care of itself. [Training camp] is critical for everybody, especially for the whole team. We came up short last year. I think that’s one thing we’ve been emphasizing. Just finishing, to make sure that we finish the job this year,” he said.

The third, or slot receiver, is an integral part of the Colts’ offensive game plan. Brandon Stokley, especially what he accomplished during the 2004 season (68 catches for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns), is a perfect example of how the position can be best utilized within the framework of what Indianapolis tries to do in the passing game.

“That third receiver is certainly a critical position in our offense. But we just have to go after it hard. You can’t buy into that [all the offseason speculation as to who will eventually earn the job] because you start losing focus. I want to be the third receiver. And I want to play special teams to make a big difference as well,” Hall said.

The key, though, is to stay as injury-free as possible and be available to make a valuable contribution to the Indianapolis offense this season.

“I’m feeling pretty good, feel real good. I didn’t take a huge vacation or anything in the offseason. I stayed up in Indianapolis, worked with our trainers, our strength and conditioning staff. [Colts director of rehabilitation] Erin Barill did a great job of having my rehab and all the assistant trainers. I feel good. I feel real good. It feels good to actually feel good for the first time in a long time,” he said.

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