Watch CBS4 This Morning for your chance to win Neil Diamond tickets!

Colts sign Malik Hooker, Grover Stewart

Malik Hooker

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Malik Hooker’s professional football career officially began Thursday.

The Indianapolis Colts’ first-round pick signed his four-year rookie contract. The former Ohio State standout safety was due a deal worth approximately $12.6 million with a $7.3 million signing bonus under the NFL’s rookie wage scale. It involves a fifth-year team option, standard with first-round selections.

The team also signed defensive tackle Grover Stewart, one of its fourth-round picks. He’s in line to receiver a four-year, $2.819 million contract.

The lone unsigned draft pick is third-round defensive end Tarell Basham.

The Colts anticipate significant contributions from Hooker, although he’s still in rehab mode after undergoing offseason surgery to address groin and hip injuries.

As a first-time starter at Ohio State last season, the 6-2, 205-pound Hooker finished third in the nation with seven interceptions and led the nation by returning three for touchdowns in 13 games.

The Colts have been one of the NFL’s worst teams at creating turnovers. They finished with eight interceptions last season, tying a franchise record for fewest in a season.

“Takes the ball away,’’ general manager Chris Ballard said of Hooker. “Guy that takes the ball away. That’s a unique trait to find. Those are hard guys to find. Go get the ball. It’s all about the ball. That’s what this is about.

“The more times we can get our offense the ball, the more shots we have to score. So, that will always be a big thing.’’

Hooker has been attending the Colts’ offseason workouts, but his rehab has kept him from getting on the field. He expects to be ready for the start of training camp in late July.

“I’m feeling great right now,’’ he said. “I’m still in the process of recovering from my injury, the surgery I had in January, but as of right now, I’m just taking it day by day. Just trying to get back to 100 percent healthy.’’

Hooker is aware lofty expectations follow him into his rookie season.

“They just want me to go out there and be me,’’ he said. “They didn’t put too much pressure on me to go out there and do anything spectacular. Just get in the playbook and be yourself because that’s why they drafted me.

“(I’m) just going out there and trying to make an impact for the team and the organization. I’m a team player. I love making plays for my teammates and just going out there and competing for the guys that are next to me.’’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s