Friday, May 11
WHATEVER IT TAKES
By John Oehser - Colts.com
Fourth-Round Pick Session Seeks a Roster Spot However He Can Get It
INDIANAPOLIS - Clint Session figures there's no other way.
None that he knows, at least.
So, for the next three and a half months, Session – a linebacker from the University of Pittsburgh and a fourth-round selection by the Colts in the 2007 NFL Draft – said he’ll do what he knows to do.
He’ll listen to the Colts’ coaches.
And he’ll believe them when they tell him he has a very real spot to make the roster.
“Coaches always tell you, 'Every spot is open,’’’ Session said recently at the Colts’ 2007 rookie mini-camp, which concluded this past Sunday at the Colts’ practice facility.
And while Session said he’s not sure that’s entirely true, he said what he does believe is this:
He has what it takes to play in the NFL. And play very, very well. Somewhere. Anywhere.
“Most of the veterans are going to be starters, so anyway I can sneak in and contribute, that’s what I’ll do,” Session said. “It doesn’t matter what it is – special teams. Hopefully, it’s as a starter, but if it’s special teams, that’s what it is.
“If it’s as a backup, that’s what it is.”
Session (6-feet-0, 235 pounds), the Colts’ second selection in the fourth round and the 136th selection overall, has a very real chance of making the roster, Head Coach Tony Dungy said this week.
Cato June, the Colts’ starting weakside linebacker the past three seasons, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent, and Gilbert Gardner – who started 12 games in the regular season – was recently waived.
The departures of Gardner and June left the Colts five veteran linebackers with NFL experience – outside/middle backer Rob Morris (eighth NFL season); middle backer Gary Brackett (fifth NFL season), middle/outside backer Tyjuan Hagler (second NFL season), outside backer Freddy Keiaho (second NFL season) and outside backer Rocky Boiman (sixth NFL season).
The Colts signed four linebackers in collegiate free agency – Brandon Archer of Kansas State, Ramon Guzman of Buffalo, KaMichael Hall of Georgia Tech and Victor Worsley of North Carolina – but of nine draft selections, Session was the only linebacker.
“He’s probably going to be off a lot of people’s linebacker boards just because of his height, but he looks like he has explosiveness,” Dungy said. “He’s got speed and quickness and just looks like a lot of the guys we’ve had success with.”
Session’s height, while not prototypical by NFL standards, is not unusual for the Colts. Middle linebacker Gary Brackett is 5-11, as is Keiaho, who is expected to open training camp as the starter in place of June.
That lack of emphasis on size, coupled with the emphasis on on-field effectiveness, is part of what Session said made him “feel like I was a perfect fit” for the Colts.
“Not only with the size and speed, but I know so much about Coach Dungy, just from reading about him and hearing all the good things he brings to the table, the staff that he has,” Session said. “They’re very teaching-oriented
guys, and they like to get after it just the way I like to play. That’s the kind of guy I am. I’m a blue-collar guy. I come to work everyday. I’m not going to take any days off or whatever.
“That’s the way they presented the franchise, the organization. I jut feel like I want to be a part of it. It’s a great fit.”
Session, who played middle and outside backer at Pitt, started 25 of 44 games, making 359 tackles, including 161 solos. He also had 2.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and three interceptions. He started at middle linebacker as a sophomore, then moved to strong side as a junior. As a senior, he started on the strong side and was a team captain, making 101 tackles, with 67 solos, and one sack with five forced fumbles.
“I played everything,” Session said. “I ended up the last two years at sam (strongside) linebacker. It’s similar to the way the Colts do it, minus the Tampa 2.”
Session played well enough at Pitt that Dave Wannstedt – formerly the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears – mentioned him to the Colts.
“When people say, ‘You’ll like this guy on your team,’ or, ‘You’ll like this guy in your camp,’ we certainly put a lot of stock in that,’’ Dungy said. “Playing in Dave Wannstedt’s system, we got to see him do a lot of the things we do. That’s important to you.”
And while the system at Pitt wasn’t the Tampa 2 employed by the Colts, Dungy said it asks the linebackers to do plenty of pro-type techniques.
“It’s more of what Dave did when he was in Chicago and Miami -- coverage linebackers, different coverages,” Dungy said. “But he wasn’t a 3-4 blitzer and he wasn’t a guy who just played in the box, and played going toward the line of scrimmage.
“He did a lot of things in coverage that we ask our guys to do.”
Session also played extensively on special teams, and he said that’s the area where he believes he may contribute to the Colts most immediately.
“I played special teams all four years,” Session said. “I take pride in that. That’s very important to me. It’s very important to the team. We used to call it hidden yardage at Pitt. Those yards mean so much to determine a game. Every little bit counts.
“Special teams is a big part of where your offense starts. That means a lot, pinning guys down. All that stuff means a lot. It’s a big part of football.”
Said Dungy, “We have a few guys like that. That will help us. That’s what you’re looking for, guys who can give you that speed – not only on your offense and defense, but also on your special teams. It doesn’t necessarily have to be returners, but guys who can make plays on the coverage units.”
And that’s fine with Session, who said he’s thankful for the opportunity to show he can play in the NFL. And play very well. Somewhere. Anywhere.
“Every day I’m jogging off this field and thanking God I’m here,” Session said. “I’m praying that something good comes out of it and that Coach notices my work ethic and what I bring to the table and that they find a spot for me somewhere out on the field
Call em as I see em!