INDIANAPOLIS - So jovial. So connected. So successful.
Yes, these can describe the Colts locker room. Yes, it comes just months after a complete rebuild.
"That word ‘chemistry’ I think that’s overused sometimes," admitted interim head coach Bruce Arians, yet a 9-4 record might justify bringing it out.
Yet the rapid repore the team seems to have just three months into their transition, according to Arians, has to do with the team's desire to do well for head coach Chuck Pagano. His nearly season-long battle with Leukemia found a way to galvanize a team that on paper seemed in rebuilding mode.
"This team obviously has a caring for each other," said Arians-yet the proof of such might have come with adversity that faced a former teammate.
Early Saturday morning the Cowboys became the latest team hit with tragedy when practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown was killed in an early morning car crash in Dallas area.
Teammate Josh Brent was driving the car which Brown was riding and was charged shortly after with intoxication manslaughter when suspicion arose that alcohol played a role in the accident.
Before joining the Cowboys, Brown had been with the Colts during spring and summer workouts. He remained on the practice squad early in the season and even played against the Jets in October before his release.
Arians says Director of Player Engagement David Thornton informed the team of Brown's death on Saturday and the Colts' chaplain led the team in a prayer.
"Some of our guys were very close to him, obviously," said Arians. "We spent all summer and last spring together with him, a lot of our younger players. We had chaplains there to talk if they needed it and just tried to honor him in that way.”
On Sunday the Colts paid tribute to Brown with a pregame moment of silence as his picture was put on the scoreboard just before the national anthem. The loss was felt by many players but had significance with cornerback Vontae Davis.
Not only was he briefly a teammate of Brown with the Colts but was also with the linebacker when the two played at the University of Illinois. Davis also played with Brent, also a former Illini player, making a tragic situation complicated.
"I just pray for the family of Jerry Brown, all the loved ones and anybody who knew Jerry Brown, because he was a good kid," said Davis after Sunday's win over the Titans. "I'm pretty sure god has his plans for everybody, you know, Josh Brent.
"I'm remorseful over the Jerry Brown situation."
Despite the incident, Davis had perhaps his best game to date for the Colts. After missing four games with injury, the cornerback recorded a season high eight tackles with a sack and a pass deflection.
When asked how the death of Brown puts things in perspective, Davis referred to spiritual teachings he received as a child.
"Life presents a lot of obstacles. My grandma raised me to put my faith in God," Davis said. "God, I feel will never let you down."
For Davis and this Colts team, no teammate will ever be left to be forgotten.
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