Because of the lockout, the Indianapolis Colts normal policy of 'no blogs' means nothing when it comes to access to players. Thus, Stampede Blue was able to secure some quality time with Colts safety Chip Vaughn, a third year player out of Jim Caldwell's old stomping ground: Wake Forest.
Chip was signed by the Colts in Week Ten of last season. Not long after signing with Indy, he broke his ankle in the Week 11 game against the New England Patriots on a seemingly route special teams play. Vaughn was one of six Colts safeties to land on the Injured Reserve (IR) list last year.
At 6'2, 215 pounds, Vaughn is a bit different from what the Colts normally have at safety. With Bob Sanders gone, it's possible that Vaughn may be the kind of player Colts defensive coordinator Larry Coyer is looking for at the strong safety position in 2010. We talked to Chip about that, and his recovery, in a special interview.
BBS: First off, how are you feeling? Are are you recovering from last season's injury?
Chip Vaughn: I'm feeling good right now. I just got done with my stuff for today, and the whole training process is going good. I'm probably a week out from being totally healthy. But, everything is going good. I'm on pace and everything is going pretty well.
BBS: What is this 'EBA garment' for? Is this a special wrap that you're using to help the recovery process with your ankle?
CV: No, it's actually for my shoulder.
BBS: Your shoulder?
CV: I had my shoulder scoped. Basically, what this jacket or shirt does is it makes you have correct balance so you can get your saps going, your deltoids, and your traps. The doctor said that a lot of people don't maximize their full potential and this jacket helps you utilize all those tiny muscles in your back. And it kind of sped up my whole recovery process. The last time I went to the doctor, he said I was two months ahead of schedule.
CV: Yeah. I'm actually stronger now than I was prior to my surgery. Like, a lot stronger. So, it's been helping out a lot.
BBS: OK. So, the injuries I'm aware of are the broken ankle you suffered against the Patriots-
BBS: And the knee injury you sustained while with the Saints.
CV: The knee wasn't even like a surgery though, really. It was something minor from college. I was out, like, two weeks. And then, I was healthy by the start of the season; really by the last preseason game. But, they [the Saints] decided to put my on the IR. So, I was healthy that whole year, but I just sat out. When I broke my ankle [against the Patriots], that was the first serious one I had in my whole life. My first serious injury.
BBS: Let's talk a bit about this because much of what is written about with the lockout is guys, like you, you are recovering from injury but cannot work with or have contact with team doctors. They have to go to outside places to get healthy.
CV: Well, Dr. Porter is the team doctor and, so, he's the one who did my ankle. So, I can actually have contact with him and his staff.
BBS: Because they did surgery.
CV: Right, exactly. So, what they did was type up a protocol, right. Then, my trainer and my PT down here that I'm with just took that and we've just been ballin' that the whole time. And notes and updates and things like that. So, I think I might be one of the fortunate ones because I can actually have some contact. But, I know some guys who have had to go through a third party to get something done. So, the team doesn't really know how, like, their progress is going.
BBS: Are you working out with your Colts teammates?
CV: No, I'm down here training with Pete Bommarito. And, it's like a whole bunch of guys training down here; Chad Ochocinco; Jon Beason; Plaxico Burress just came down here. But, it's a whole bunch of guys. We train Monday-Friday from about 7:30 a.m. to about 12 noon. We just lift weights, do sprints, get in the pool. We do football stuff. So, I do that stuff along with my PT I have everyday.
BBS: Yeah, my regular workout is 45 minutes. Yours sounds 'fun.'
CV: Ha! That's all you need though, man! That's all you need!
CV: 45 minutes of hard work.
BBS: A lot of cardio, and some weight lifting. But, obviously, I don't play football. So, it's a totally different type of set-up. So, you're down in Louisiana right now?
CV: I'm actually down here in Miami, FL.
BBS: Oh! You're in Miami.
BBS: What is your current situation with Colts? Are you a free agent?
CV: I have a year left on my contract with them. So, yeah, me personally I can't wait until camp starts so I can go there, healthy, and try and compete. That's the only thing I want to do is just make sure I'm in tip top shape when I comeback; so I can start compete for a starting job and playing time.
BBS: Obviously, you haven't spoken to them during the lockout. But, prior to the lockout, did the Colts coaches ever talk to you about possibly competing for a starting spot on the defense? I mean, with Bob Sanders gone and maybe Melvin Bullitt as well, there's a hole at safety for the Colts.
CV: Yeah, they did. But, I think that's something they said to everybody. I'm not trying to hang my hat on what the coach said, and stuff like that. I'm just trying to come to camp and just let my play talk. I'm not trying to lean on what they said so much. I just want to let my work speak for itself.
BBS: What was it like moving from the Saints organization to the Colts?
CV: It was different because with the Saints it was more like an up-and-coming team, you know, like an underdog role, per say. And then, when I went to the Colts, it was like, OK, we're already an established program. We have a system that works. This is how we practice. This is how we lift weights and stuff. The Colts already have a great system in place. They have a very stable staff that's all been there for numerous years. So, I guess the foundation was kind of set.
BBS: Any Colts veterans take you under their wing? Anyone talk to you to help you get comfortable within the organization?
CV: Antoine Bethea did a lot. I'd say between Antoine and Gary Brackett, those are two guys that I stay in contact with. So, if I have any kind of questions about the playbook and schemes and stuff like that, I can always shoot them a text message. We talk like that. Those two guys are really the ones that got me up to speed there. Because, I got there in Week Ten. So, I kind of had to make up from training camp and the last nine games they played. Those two guys really helped a lot.
BBS: Last question; not many fans know who you are. Maybe some saw you play on special teams, but that's it. How would you describe your game to fans who might not be familiar with you? What are the strengths and weaknesses of game?
CV: I'd say I'm a fast, rangy, explosive football player. I always try to be like the fastest guy in anything I'm doing. I just pride myself on speed, and then the strength part of it too. I just think I'm a little bit different from a lot of safeties out there in the fact that I can play free and strong safety. I don't have a problem being in the box at all, and I don't have a problem playing back deep either. And, I always pride myself on always playing good on special teams because even when I first came to college, my college coach said, he said, Look Chip, you cant even touch the field on defense until you prove yourself on special teams. So, that was something that always stuck. I never expected to come in and be, like, a starter. I always knew I had to prove myself on special teams first. So, that's what I'm going to try and do once training camp starts; go ahead and prove I can be an accountable special teams guy, and then, after that, go ahead and get a role at the starting spot.
BBS: Thanks for your time, Chip. I hope you heal up quick so you can kick ass next season.
CV: I can't wait.
Special thanks to Chip for his time, and to Karen Stevens at Arlene Howard PR for arranging the interview.