In 2011, the Cleveland Browns went just 4-12, but they had some notable defenders on their roster. There was the veteran defensive leader and starting inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. There was the veteran safety Mike Adams, who started all 16 games that year. And there was the team’s second round rookie, defensive end Jabaal Sheard.
Adams would leave the Browns following the 2011 season to sign with the Broncos, Jackson would join the Colts following the 2013 season, and Sheard would sign with the Patriots following the 2014 season. But this offseason, Sheard turned to the two veterans from that Browns team for some key advice: should he sign with the Colts?
Both Jackson and Adams wound up with the Colts eventually, and each made the Pro Bowls - after spending the first 18 combined seasons of their career without making the all-star game. Jackson and Adams wound up being defensive leaders and starters for the Colts for three seasons, and Sheard asked for their advice on the Colts as he was considering joining them himself this offseason.
“Those guys had nothing but great feedback,’’ Sheard told reporters on a conference call today, according to CBS4’s Mike Chappell, “just telling me how the program is moving and coaches are going to do everything to get the organization back on track. What more could you need to hear?’’
Of course, neither Jackson nor Adams are still with the Colts. Jackson was cut (the first roster move of the Chris Ballard era) and Adams wasn’t re-signed (he joined the Panthers in free agency). But Sheard? He was convinced, and he wound up signing with the Colts last week.
In that regard, it’s impressive that two guys the Colts moved on from this offseason had good things to say about the Colts when Sheard asked. It’s easy for players to get bitter when teams cut or move on from them, but it’s commendable that it doesn’t appear as if Jackson or Adams let the business moves the Colts made get in the way of advising Sheard.
The Colts are looking to get younger, and they’ve done that with the moves to get rid of D’Qwell Jackson and Mike Adams and to sign Jabaal Sheard. The latter knows what it takes to win, having won a Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, and hopes to help the Colts get there. He’s willing to do whatever they ask of him as they build toward hopefully being a championship team before long. Whether it’s rushing the passer, defending against the run, or dropping into coverage, Sheard says he’s able and willing to do it all.
“Whatever they ask of me,” he said, “I just want to do my job and help where I can.”