10:01 AM PDT, August 6, 2012
ANDERSON - Roller coaster seems a bit overused, but really there's no other way to describe it.
Signed, waived, practice squad, active squad then all over again. The "Topsy Turvy" job status wasn't the way Darren Evans in visioned a professional football homecoming.
"That was tough, going up and down," said the Colts running back and Indianapolis native frankly about his 2011 season in Indianapolis-and he's not lying.
After going undrafted, the former Warren Central High School star waited through the entire NFL Lockout to find a place to play and then landed a free agent contract with the Colts on July 29th. During the preseason he scored a touchdown in the finale against the Bengals and managed to find his way onto the roster.
The roller coaster kicked in after that as Evans was waived on September 22nd and then was signed to the team's practice squad soon after. He got back on the active roster on October 11th on to be waived and put on the practice 14 days later.
Evans had some more positivity on November 12 when he joined the Colts roster again but his joy was short lived. This time it only lasted 12 days as Evans was sent back to the practice squad for the rest of the year on November 24th.
"I really felt like I could play, but it also kinda humbles you a bit," said Evans of 2011. "That's a big thing when you feel like your the best or you want to be the best and it's just not your time."
In the end Evans played in just two games and didn't register a carry but tried to pick up what he could in his time going up and down.
"It was tough because you want to play but at the same time you know this is a team sport so anyway I could help, its gonna help me learn," said Evans. "That's the thing, you've just got to take the best of your situation and I learned a lot last year, just going back and forth.
"I think it's going to make me even tougher. Just any kind of adversity I may face, whether this year or next year or whenever another time like that happens."
For sure he'll have that for the summer as he's back in Anderson following the Colts signing of Evans to a futures contract on January 17th. He joins a crowded backfield that includes returners Donald Brown and Delone Carter along with free agent Mewelde Moore and fifth round draft pick Vick Ballard from Mississippi State.
Finding roster spots for each will be challenging before the talk of carries even begins. Evans says he's realistic about the challenges ahead and hopes a good showing in the preseason may finally find him a permanent roster spot-in Indianapolis or somewhere else.
"Is evident that's gonna happen," said Evans of some of the running backs not making the final roster. "One of the things is, you know, is you kinda play for every team. You've just gotta do the best you can to put some good film out and if it doesn't work out here you'll get another opportunity."
"But I'm pretty much banking on doing the best I can and the coaches liking what they see. I wanna be here, I grew up here, this is my hometown."
In 2012, however, he hopes the homecoming could be a little less up and down.
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