Alumni Files: Keary Colbert

With 207 career receptions, Keary Colbert is regarded as one of the top wide receivers in USC history and played a major part in the resurgence of the USC Football program. Kevin Carden recently caught up with the talented receiver to discuss his career highlights, favorite memories of USC and life in the NFL.

Q: How gratifying is it to know that you played a major part in the resurgence of the USC football program?

A: It's an honor to be able to say that I was a part of that. It was a good time period to be here. We worked hard and did a lot to bring it back to where it's at now. We put in a lot of time and it's a great program with great coaches, great staff, great players and it's just a fun place to be right now.

Q: In your distinguished career as a Trojan you won Pac-10 championships, BCS bowls and a national championship. What was your favorite win at USC?

A: Probably the Rose Bowl my senior year because growing up a Southern California boy you always watch the Rose Bowl. It's the big game, the granddaddy of them all obviously. I got to play in the game, win it, and that game meant a lot for me. I ended up breaking the career receptions record that game. It was just a fun game to be a part of; we split the national championship that year. It was just fun and that's probably one of my most memorable moments here.

Q: You had a career-high 149 yards in the Trojans win over Michigan in 2004 Rose Bowl. How satisfying was it for you to end your career on such a high-note?

A: I really needed that being that it was my last year. Coming off the year that we had as a team I was trying to build off some of that success. It was good and set me up I think in the long run. Like I said, it was a memorable game, one that I always think about and people always talk about and ask me about it.

Colbert just signed with the Denver Broncos
Q: You caught passes from two Heisman Trophy winners in Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. Can you compare and contrast the leadership and tools that they bring to the quarterback position?

A: They have a lot of the same qualities. They both are natural leaders and natural quarterbacks that have played it forever. They are different in personality a little bit and just as far as the skills and things that they do well but they are both great, talented quarterbacks. They are highly competitive and very smart quarterbacks that get the ball to where it is supposed to be and I think that is the key.

Q: You have been at USC working out this off-season. Have any of the current USC receivers impressed you?

A: Honestly man, they have a bunch. They are loaded with talent in the group and I am really excited about that. I have an opportunity to kind of be out here with them and workout with them a little bit. They have a number of guys and everybody is working. There is a standard that we try to set at SC as far as any position group. We want to be dominant and want to be the best.

Q: What is your best memory from your time at USC?

A: Maybe Coach Carroll's first day he got hired. I remember going to the Coliseum at like 10 o'clock at night as a whole team. We had a team meeting there basically, and he kind of told us if we want to run the city and win national championships this is where it all will start, and we have to own the Coliseum. Looking back that is a real great moment that I shared.

Q: Being at USC during your time you had the chance to play with some exceptionally talented guys. Who was the best player you played with here at USC?

A: Off the top of my head, Reggie Bush and Troy Polamula. Those two guys on natural talent they just exceed anything I could think of anybody else. They just did more than anybody else on the field during games.

Q: How has playing in the NFL been different from college football for you?

A: Football is football, but it is different. It's a business on the NFL level and you have to treat it as such. It's a production based business and you have to produce and win and make plays. You have to do the same things in college as well but being that you have scholarships you are guaranteed at least four or five years and things like that.

Colbert scores as a Panther
Q: You just signed a new contract with the Denver Broncos and will be competing to be their No.2 receiver. What are your goals and expectations for the next few years in Denver?

A: Really, I just want to contribute to the offense and contribute to a winning team. I want to play and I want to make plays. I think that is the key to any sport and any position in football.

Q: What is the main lesson that you learned from Pete Carroll and the USC staff when you were a player at USC?

A: Compete. That is the model of the program. Just to compete everyday and every practice. Anytime you are doing anything you compete.

Q: You are down here with the USC strength coaches nearly every day. What does your off-season workout consist of and what are you trying to improve on?

A: I'm just trying to polish myself and continue to polish my route running and just grow as a receiver. Just grow as a receiver and be a little smarter and let the game come to me a little slower.

Q: What does it mean to you to say you are a Trojan?

A: There is a lot of pride behind saying that, I take a lot of pride in that. It's an honor really to be able to say that and I guess I could just leave it at that. Top Stories