INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Eric Ebron’s angst was brief.
“No one likes to be unemployed,’’ he said.
Ebron was adrift in the NFL’s free-agent waters for less than a week before catching a lifeline from the Indianapolis Colts. They signed the veteran tight end to a two-year contract. According to NFL Network, the deal is worth a maximum of $15 million with incentives.
Discarded by the Detroit Lions March 14 – he was due an $8.25 million base salary – Erbron is eager to better fulfill the expectations that accompanied him into the NFL. The Lions made him the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft.
“It’s definitely an opportunity I’m looking forward to,’’ Ebron said on a Monday evening conference call. “It’s a fresh start. It’s a whole new ordeal, a whole new world you’re stepping into.’’
His enthusiasm hasn’t been dampened by joining an organization in serious rebuild mold. The Colts are coming off a 4-12 season and have failed to reach the playoffs in three consecutive years for the first time in more than two decades (1988-94).
“Growing up I’ve never been a fan of things that are already great,’’ he said. “Then, what’s the point of really joining it? I’ve always been a fan of trying to make something better.
“I feel like I can do that with my talent and my ability here. With Andrew Luck coming back and playing along with Jack (Doyle), I feel we can create something that most teams would want. I hope we can put that together and really dig deep and build something special in Indianapolis.
“They have a history of being special. I look forward to that.’’
That never materialized in Detroit.
Ebron, 24, appeared in 56 games, 37 as a starter, and only offered lukewarm results. In four seasons, he had 186 receptions for 2,070 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I really have nothing to put into perspective of what happened there,’’ he said.
Ebron indicated his modest four seasons in Detroit were impacted by a lack of “mental focus.’’
“That comes with staying involved in the game,’’ he said. “That has a lot to do with the situation I was in.
“I think I’ll be a lot better at that with this organization. I have a fresh start, a new home, a new group of fans, a new group of people, a new coaching staff.’’
Erbron adds proven experience to a tight end corps that needs it.
Doyle is coming off the best season of his five-year career. He earned his first Pro Bowl berth on the strength of a team-high 80 receptions, 690 yards and four TDs. The receptions were the second-most by a tight end in Colts’ history, and the second-most by a tight end in the league last season.
However, depth is a concern. Brandon Williams’ contract expired and Erik Swoope was extended a one-year tender as an exclusive rights free agent. Swoope, who has flashed intriguing potential, missed last season after undergoing knee surgery during training camp.
Darrell Daniels returns after having just three catches for 26 yards as a rookie.