Rookie Steve Ishmael shares link to Colts’ all-time great
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As an undrafted rookie, Steve Ishmael knows his role among the Colts’ receivers.
“I’m just gonna do my job,” explained Ishmael. “It’s up to the coaches. In practice, (I have to) make plays, and just leave the rest up to the coaches. If they trust me, I’ll get in there and do what I have to do.”
Ishmael has already done something that should make Colts fans in particular take notice: He finished his college career at Syracuse as the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards, taking that record from former Orangeman Marvin Harrison.
“It’s crazy,” smiles Ishmael. “I see him on the honor wall over here. It’s cool, looking at somebody you watched growing up and getting the chance to be in the same facility that he was in.”
A big difference between these two players though? Harrison was a first round pick. Ishmael, though a member of nine All-American teams as a senior, went undrafted.
“It hit me by surprise,” admitted Ishmael. “Just trying not to get too high or too low and do what I have to do.”
Undrafted rookie status is far from a closed door with the Colts. Nineteen years in a row, such a player has made the team’s opening day roster. Head coach Frank Reich remembers a speech on the topic from one of his former coaches, Bill Parcells.
“Something to the effect of ‘I’m the most selfish head coach you’ll ever play for,'” remembered Reich, “‘because I’m always gonna play the best 11 players. I don’t care what round, how much money’, so on and so forth.”
So now it’s up to Ishmael to prove he belongs, and perhaps to follow in the footsteps of one of the Horseshoes’ greatest ever.