Shaun Phillips settles in with new team

Colts are flexible in how they use their new reserve outside linebacker, be it on running downs or for rushing the passer.

Shaun Phillips has played 11 NFL seasons, which means maintaining a professional focus on just the next game

But the Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker, claimed two weeks ago off waivers from Tennessee, admits every player aspires to win a Super Bowl. He came the closest in his career to accomplishing that goal last season in Denver, which lost Super Bowl XLVIII to Seattle.

“It stays with me,” Phillips said recently of the Super Bowl loss, “whether we go to the Super Bowl and lose or whether we were to never make it to the Super Bowl or never make the playoffs.

“The ultimate goal is to retire with at least one (ring).”

The Colts (9-4) have given the former Purdue Boilermaker with 81.5 career NFL sacks another shot, albeit in a reserve role. He’s played between a dozen to 15 snaps in each of his first two games and has been credited with two solo tackles and one assist.

“I’m ready for any situation that may present itself,” he said.

He’s reunited with defensive coordinator Greg Manusky — the two were together in San Diego, where Phillips played from 2004 to 2012 and had 69.5 sacks. Perhaps most importantly, the Colts use a 3-4 scheme with which Phillips is comfortable.

“I’m home in a 3-4,” he said.

He played a defensive end in the Broncos’ 4-3 and had 10 sacks. His experience enables the Colts to use him in any downs because he realizes his responsibilities against the run.

“He’s more comfortable with the terminology and the scheme,” said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, “so he’s obviously able to play a little bit faster. He’s understanding all downs.

“And certainly he can rush the passer and give us something there.”

Phillips prides himself in being a football player, not just a sack specialist. But he’s made a career out of getting to the quarterback. It’s what he’s done best.

He had just two sacks in 11 games with the Titans, where he started only once this season. Tennessee (2-11) decided to go with younger players to build for the future.

Phillips says he doesn’t have any hard feelings. And he’s hopes to contribute a few sacks for his new team.

“Any chance you get to get a sack in this league is a special opportunity,” he said, “but doing what it takes to win is most important.”

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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