2013 DRAFT GUIDE
T.Y. Hilton making big impact for Colts

    2012-11-29 03:30

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.)
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - As the NFL game slows down for him, T.Y. Hilton is playing faster. As opponents pay more attention to Reggie Wayne, he is emerging as a key contributor. And as the smallest player on the Colts' roster, Hilton is making a huge impact.

The 5-foot-9, 183-pound rookie couldn't dream of a better way to start a career.

``It's been a lot of fun,'' Hilton said Wednesday. ``I love changing games, bringing another dimension to the game. It's all fun.''

Hilton is no ordinary rookie and in no ordinary learning environment.

Interim coach Bruce Arians has a history of waiting patiently for new receivers to get acclimated to facing bigger, faster defenders before turning them loose and raising the expectations. See Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh.

Hilton also didn't come from a big school with a gaudy draft grade or the burden of living up to the reputation of other higher-profile receivers.

He was able to get a crash course in film study and practice habits from Pro Bowler Wayne, who spends his offseasons working out in Hilton's hometown of Miami. And with veterans such as Wayne and Donnie Avery already on board, Hilton didn't have to emerge as a go-to receiver immediately.

Instead, the fourth player selected in Indy's rookie class was able to blend in behind the first three picks - quarterback Andrew Luck and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen - and learn things on his own timetable.

Now the Colts (7-4) are reaping the rewards.

``You can just tell that he's playing faster every week, more comfortable,'' Luck said. ``I'm glad to start seeing it pay dividends and hopefully he'll continue to play fast and continue to do decent things.''

In this rookie class, record-breaking chases have become the norm.

Luck is on pace to break the NFL's rookie single-season marks for pass attempts, completions and yardage. With a win Sunday in Detroit, Luck also would break Sam Bradford's rookie record for wins by a No. 1 overall pick (seven).

Allen is closing in on the franchise's rookie receptions record for tight ends.

Hilton, too, is making history. He already shares the Colts' rookie record for 100-yard games (three) with Andre Rison, and last weekend, Hilton became the first player in franchise history to catch a touchdown pass and score on a punt return in the same game.

The second-best rookie in Indianapolis was so impressive against Buffalo, he was named this week's AFC special teams player of the week.

``He's extremely explosive. I think I'll go back to the Louisville game (last year) where he just blew off the tape catching balls down the middle, catching short passes, making guys miss,'' Arians said. ``Punt returns, kick returns, you knew that in the open field, he was extremely dangerous, not just top end speed but elusiveness to go with it, and he had solid hands. More than all those things, he's got a great work ethic and humility about him. He's going to be a great pro.''

Despite being the 13th receiver taken in April's draft, only two rookie receivers have topped Hilton's numbers (33 receptions, 488 yards). And Buffalo coach Chan Gailey acknowledged that it was Hilton - not the usual suspects like Luck or Wayne- who changed last Sunday's game.

It may only be the start.

``Thanksgiving to Christmas is when you want your young wide receivers to step in and have a major role,'' Arians said. ``LaVon (Brazill) has started to increase his productivity. T.Y. has had more opportunities and, obviously, now is becoming a major factor in our offense but also as a punt returner. We always thought it was there, but you've just got to watch him grow.''

And Hilton intends to deliver on that promise.

``I still have a lot of room to grow,'' Hilton said. ``This is the turning point of the season, where rookies normally hit that rookie wall. But I'm feeling good and the game is slowing down for me right now.''

NOTES: The Colts have placed defensive tackles Josh Chapman and Fili Moala on season-ending injured reserve with knee injuries. Indy signed safety Delano Howell off of Buffalo's practice squad and defensive tackle Kellen Heard to take their spots on the active roster. ... Arians expects to get two starters - Fleener and cornerback Vontae Davis - back on the field Sunday at Detroit. Both have missed the last four games with injuries. ... Arians said earlier this week that he didn't expect Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to be suspended this week and when asked Wednesday whether he considered Suh a dirty player, Arians responded: ``No I don't think he's a dirty player. I'd love to have him on my team. I like the way he plays, he plays aggressive, hard and fast and physical and I don't think there's anything wrong. I think that's why they call it football.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

Terrelle PryorApr 19 01:02p

The Oakland Raiders will release QB Terrelle Pryor if they are not able to trade him by Monday, April 21.

LaMichael JamesApr 19 12:22p

The Kansas City Chiefs could consider pursuing San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James if he could become a slot receiver. The team likely would not have interest in James [ More ]

Matt HasselbeckApr 19 12:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck plans to retire after the 2014 season.

Asa JacksonApr 19 12:12p

Baltimore Ravens CBs Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson are expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback job during training camp. If the team takes a cornerback in one [ More ]

Michael FordApr 19 11:32a

The Chicago Bears probably will select a running back in the later rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft to compete with RB Michael Ford for the No. 2 running [ More ]

Jordan PalmerApr 19 09:52a

The Chicago Bears could target a quarterback in the late rounds of the NFL Draft or in free agency to provide competition for backup QB Jordan Palmer.

Cam NewtonApr 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) remains in a walking boot about a month after ankle surgery. The team is hopeful Newton will be ready to go for training camp.

Michael RobinsonApr 19 12:02a

The Seattle Seahawks have not tried to re-sign free-agent FB Michael Robinson this offseason.

Russell AllenApr 18 11:42p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen (concussion) after he failed a physical.

Kendrick LewisApr 18 08:32p

Houston Texans FS Kendrick Lewis and SS Chris D. Clemons are expected to compete for the starting free safety job during training camp.

Trent RichardsonApr 18 08:22p

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said it will be important for RB Trent Richardson to participate in all of the offseason workouts so he can get more comfortable [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group