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From Super Bowl Hero to Starter: Kelvin Hayden

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From Super Bowl Hero to Starter: Kelvin Hayden

Postby Dr. Duran Duran » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:52 pm

A great read from Colts.com. Can't wait to see how he fares in place of the newly departed Nick Harper.

HIS TIME IS NOW

By John Oehser - Colts.com

Hayden Looking Forward to 2007 Training Camp
INDIANAPOLIS - He has waited for this for two seasons.
He has worked, he has prepared, and even when he got a glorious moment on the NFL's biggest stage, this is the chance for which Kelvin Hayden was preparing.

A chance to play consistently.

A chance to show what he really can do.

A chance to start.

Hayden, the Colts' second-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, has been one of the team's top reserves the past two seasons. In training camp last season, he played as well as any player on the Colts’ defense, Head Coach Tony Dungy said.

But never did he get a chance to play consistently.

For Hayden, that chance is now.

“If it comes down to it, I’m ready to go,” Hayden said recently.

Hayden, after playing as a reserve cornerback and special teams player, is expected to enter training camp as a starter opposite fellow third-year veteran Marlin Jackson.

During the off-season, Nick Harper and Jason David - the Colts’ starting cornerbacks the past three seasons - signed as free agents with the Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints, respectively.

They were key losses, players who have been solid contributors to three consecutive AFC South-winning teams.

But Dungy said it’s his belief that when experienced, well-known players leave, the players remaining typically play well when called upon. And Dungy said this off-season Hayden can be such a player.

“Kelvin was probably our most-improved defensive player (during the 2006 season),” Dungy said. “He played in training camp and the preseason exceptionally well. He didn’t get to play a lot for a long stretch, then at the end of the year when he was in the nickel, he did a tremendous job.”

Hayden, who played collegiately at the University of Illinois, hardly is an unknown to Colts fans – or to NFL fans nationwide.

His time as an unknown ended in February.

That was when the second-year veteran intercepted a pass from Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman and returned it 56 yards for the game-clinching touchdown in the Colts’ 29-17 victory in Super Bowl XLI.

Hayden said he saw the play often. At first.

“The first couple of days, a lot,” he said, smiling. “But after that, I tried not to look at it. I tried just to forget about it. I want my career not to be based on that.

“I want it to be part of it, but at the same time people to say, 'Hey, this guy made plenty of plays.’ I just try to forget about it and move on.”

Hayden said that’s the approach he has tried to take throughout the off-season. He, like many Colts players, basked in the Super Bowl glory, for a couple of days.

“But not too much,” he said.

Hayden has been present throughout the Colts’ off-season conditioning program, and during mini-camp and summer-school he worked with the idea of being prepared for an opportunity.

“I have two years under my belt,” Hayden said. “I had a great guy (Harper) in front of me to show me the ropes, the dos and the don’ts. I prepared myself, and if it comes down to it, I’m ready to go.

“When I first got here, being a rookie, it was so crazy. It was overwhelming. Now, I feel like it’s time for me to be a starter. I think that’s everybody’s goal. Everybody’s goal is to not be a reserve and be a special teamer. Everyone wants to go out and be a part of the first team unit and be one of those guys who play week in and week out.

“I want to go out there and do the best I can and at the same time, help the team win.”

Hayden played 16 games as a reserve in 2005, making 19 tackles and defensing one pass, and last season – with the Colts’ secondary battling injuries throughout the season – he started one of 15 games. He made 31 tackles last season, defended two passes and returned one fumble for a touchdown – a 26-yarder in the second half of a 43-24 victory over Philadelphia in the RCA Dome in late November.

“It was tough,” Hayden said. “You get to questioning yourself, saying, 'What do I have to do to break the lineup? Do I have to go out and be Superman?’ But I realized I had two great guys in front of me. You realize your time will come. You have to be patient and don’t whine or nag about it, but at the same time, just learn from their mistakes and continue to prepare yourself as if you’re going to play.

“It’s the NFL. You’re an ankle sprain away from playing. My junior college coach used to say it all the time: 'You’re an ankle sprain away from playing,’ so I always try to think of it like that.

“It was tough, but at the same time, I had to take it as a learning experience. I’m ready.”

The coach’s advice proved valuable last postseason, when Harper sustained an ankle injury that kept him out of parts of the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl. Suddenly, the opportunity for which Hayden had waited was at hand and he took advantage in the most memorable way possible.

And now, because of that, Hayden said he’s ready for the chance that sometimes felt as if it might not ever come.

“It helps a lot,” Hayden said of the playoff experience. “It makes the regular season almost easy. There’s not as much pressure as there is in the playoffs. In the playoffs, a play here or a play there can send you home. In the regular season those plays can also send you home, but it’s not as intense.

“It gives you confidence that you can go out and make plays in the heat of the moment. It brings you a confidence and it brings you a swagger, and at the same time, you expect more out of yourself. Right now, I’m expecting way more out of myself. I saw the best is yet to come, hopefully.

“I’m just ready to see what happens. If I’m a starter, that’s great, because it’s everybody’s dream. I just want to go out and see what I’ve got and make plays week in and week out.”
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Re: From Super Bowl Hero to Starter: Kelvin Hayden

Postby Indys_time » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:25 am

Yeah, finally another post in the Colts Forum, dang its been a while. Anyway Hayden definetly deserves to start, he is going to be a solid corner along with M.Jackson. Even though we lost N.Harper, and J.David, the Colts secondary is still about the same. I just hope that if these two guys get to good then we will lose them to free agency. :-t 8-o
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Thanks to Joelamosobadiah for another great sig
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Re: From Super Bowl Hero to Starter: Kelvin Hayden

Postby Dr. Duran Duran » Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:16 pm

Indys_time wrote:Yeah, finally another post in the Colts Forum, dang its been a while. Anyway Hayden definetly deserves to start, he is going to be a solid corner along with M.Jackson. Even though we lost N.Harper, and J.David, the Colts secondary is still about the same. I just hope that if these two guys get to good then we will lose them to free agency. :-t 8-o


Sorry about the lack of activity in here. That's partly my fault, but I have been extremely busy lately. That said, my time here has been sparse. Thankfully, that's all about to change. B-)

As for Hayden, I can't begin to say how excited I am for the Colts new DB's. Perhaps I'm a bit optimistic, but I just love the new recruits, especially that guy in my sig. }:-)
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Re: From Super Bowl Hero to Starter: Kelvin Hayden

Postby Indys_time » Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:16 pm

Dr. Duran Duran wrote:
Indys_time wrote:Yeah, finally another post in the Colts Forum, dang its been a while. Anyway Hayden definetly deserves to start, he is going to be a solid corner along with M.Jackson. Even though we lost N.Harper, and J.David, the Colts secondary is still about the same. I just hope that if these two guys get to good then we will lose them to free agency. :-t 8-o


Sorry about the lack of activity in here. That's partly my fault, but I have been extremely busy lately. That said, my time here has been sparse. Thankfully, that's all about to change. B-)

As for Hayden, I can't begin to say how excited I am for the Colts new DB's. Perhaps I'm a bit optimistic, but I just love the new recruits, especially that guy in my sig. }:-)


yep, bethea, hayden, and Jackson could all be solid players. I just hope the colts don't let them eventually go like Buchanon, Ambrose, and a lot list of defensive players getting to expensive to keep.
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Thanks to Joelamosobadiah for another great sig
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Re: From Super Bowl Hero to Starter: Kelvin Hayden

Postby Dr. Duran Duran » Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:29 pm

Indys_time wrote:
Dr. Duran Duran wrote:
Indys_time wrote:Yeah, finally another post in the Colts Forum, dang its been a while. Anyway Hayden definetly deserves to start, he is going to be a solid corner along with M.Jackson. Even though we lost N.Harper, and J.David, the Colts secondary is still about the same. I just hope that if these two guys get to good then we will lose them to free agency. :-t 8-o


Sorry about the lack of activity in here. That's partly my fault, but I have been extremely busy lately. That said, my time here has been sparse. Thankfully, that's all about to change. B-)

As for Hayden, I can't begin to say how excited I am for the Colts new DB's. Perhaps I'm a bit optimistic, but I just love the new recruits, especially that guy in my sig. }:-)


yep, bethea, hayden, and Jackson could all be solid players. I just hope the colts don't let them eventually go like Buchanon, Ambrose, and a lot list of defensive players getting to expensive to keep.


Wow, way to go back in time, bro! Ashley Ambrose and Ray Buchanan were quite a site to see in that 1995 season. It's a shame we have to let people go, but it's the price we pay for keeping big name players like Manning and Harrison on offense.
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