Last night with a minute to go in the first half we saw the gruesome injury to Eric Foster. For about 10 minutes Foster lay on the ground in agony, screaming in pain. After getting his foot caught under teammate Tyler Brayton, Foster would later find out his ankle had been dislocated, his season and possibly his career with the Colts over.
Instead of sulking and feeling sorry for himself, Foster did what he always has done: He kept choppin!
As he was being carted off the field, Foster turned to his sideline imploring the Colts to do the same. Screaming at them to get fired up and keep fighting.
*(As mentioned by several readers, the reaction from the Tampa fans was indeed heartening as well as they showed great class and support for Foster).
An undersized, undrafted free agent out of Rutgers Foster has always had the deck stacked against him. Not recruited heavily out of high school, Foster was redshirted his freshman year. For some that would be a major blow. For Foster, no problem. Instead he came right back and made the starting lineup the following year. By his junior year he was the leader of the defensive. After going undrafted, Foster signed with the Colts hoping to make the team. Instead he ended up starting 11 games. Three years later he has over 100 career tackles.
Being 0-4 sucks. It's miserable.
But watching players like Eric Foster and seeing their effort on the field, brings about a pride and passion that is special, even in a league with so many special players.
The heart that the Colts play with is unparalleled. Whether it's something installed by Tony Dungy and carried on by Jim Caldwell and the coaching staff, a product of the Colts relying heavily on undrafted free agents who have a lot to prove or dumb luck that the Colts have a self-respecting group of veterans, the Colts (minus the first game of each year against the Texans) are a gut-wrenching joy to watch.
At 0-3 and playing without their hall of fame quarterback (and with Curtis freaking Painter), Reggie Wayne could have thrown in the towel. He already has a Super Bowl ring and a Hall of Fame resume. Instead he sprinted across the field throwing his body for a key block that sprang Garcon free on his second touchdown.
At 0-3 and with two defensive starters already out, Mathis and Freeney could have eased up and started taking plays off. Like Wayne, they don't need the accolades. Instead, like Reggie, Freeney and Mathis kept charging until they were absolutely gassed and could do no more.
At 0-3 Peyton Manning didn't have to be upstairs in the coaching booth because that is Kerry Collins job. Hell, he didn't have to be in the stadium. But he was there because like the rest of the guys he cares deeply and wants to be involved.
In the end, the veterans didn't stop playing and didn't give up, because that is not how they were raised and that is not Colts football.
Banged up and playing with a dangerously thin patchwork offensive line, the Colts fought on. Curtis Painter took his licks, the defense took theirs in the form of 77+ plays against them and the team took another collective smack dropping 0-4 on the season.
It wasn't pretty (in fact it was downright ugly), but the Colts kept choppin!
It's going to be a long painful season (literally if the injuries keep racking up), yet keep the hope, because just like Foster, the Colts aren't giving up and will bounce back.