Jonathan Newsome earns honor

Colts rookie outside linebacker shines in first NFL start on Sunday to earn AFC Defensive Player of the Week award.

Indianapolis Colts rookie outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome sure made the most of his first NFL start.

Newsome was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week Wednesday after he contributed a career-high eight tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble to the Colts’ 27-10 victory at Tennessee on Sunday.

The fifth-round selection out of Ball State bumped his seasonal sack total total to 6.5 to become the first rookie to lead the Colts in sacks since Dwight Freeney in 2002. He’s also the first Colts defensive rookie to receive such an honor since Freeney.

Asked Monday about his adjustment to the NFL, Newsome said, “I always thought I was ready from the get-go.”

Some would say he’s cocky, but he assures it’s just confidence. Newsome was starting at rush linebacker for second-year pro Bjoern Werner, who missed the game with a shoulder injury.

“You’re setting it up for other guys to make the play, or you could be doing something so you can make the play,” Newsome said. “It’s just doing your job and being where you’re supposed to be at the right time.”

Despite being limited to mostly reserve duty, Newsome finished the season with 34 tackles, 26 of them solos, 6.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. His sack total ranked third in franchise history among rookies and was second-highest among NFL rookies in 2014.

He’s the fourth Colts player to receive a Player of the Week honor. Quarterback Andrew Luck received AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 3, punter Pat McAfee AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 6 and inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 13.

McAfee was selected AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September and Luck was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November.

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

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