In Focus: Colts WR Troy Walters
Talk to Troy Walters even for just a few minutes and it's easy to figure out why the Colts think so highly of him; not just as a player, but as a person as well.
The Colts' wide receiver caught 21 punts, averaging 8.2 yards per return in his sixth season. His best year as a wide receiver so far came in 2003, when he started four games and caught 36 passes for 456 yards and three touchdowns.
Walters' 5'7, 172-pound frame doesn't accurately reflect the toughness that he displays on the field, willingly putting himself in jeopardy on punt returns and on quick passes off the line that set him up for seemingly unfair sparring matches with linebackers and hard-hitting safeties.
And perhaps even more clearly than the running lanes that he sees and slices through while trying to gain just a few extra yards, Walters sees life and what's important to him with incredible clarity.
"Number one would be my faith. My relationship with Jesus Christ is number one, and that really governs how I live life," he said. "Family is number two, just making sure my family is happy. I stay connected with them. I'm real laid back. You know, I just like to relax and enjoy life."
Staying close and connected with his family isn't easy. Walters lives in California while his parents live in Philadelphia. His sister is in Jacksonville while his brother resides in Dallas. He credits his parents in helping him become the man he is today.
"They really raised us up right, raised us up in the church, really taught us the importance of academics and just trying to be the best people that we can be," he said. "I may talk to my mom three, four times out of the week. We're very close. They really supported me throughout the years. I'm trying to just help them and give back to them."
His upbringing also taught him the importance of giving back to the community.
"I feel like God has put me in a place to be on this planet to really help others and inspire others – just give back to those who support me, support the team and the community."
During this offseason, Walters worked as a coaching intern with the Berlin Thunder in their training camp. So what was so intriguing about coaching that he gave up part of his offseason for the experience?
"My father is a football coach," he explained. "He's a secondary coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. So I've grown up around football and coaching.
"I really wanted to see if that's something that I would be interested in doing after my playing days are over. It was a great experience."
Walters was the receivers coach for the Thunder and was tasked with coming up with practice plans, outlining what they would do in practice. And he held meetings with his players.
"I was truly a coach and the one they leaned on for knowledge," he said. "I just tried to give them pointers, and help them so they can make it – not only in Europe, but in the NFL."
While it was a lot of work, Walters also found it to be very engaging. Being the type of person he is, it's not hard to figure out what his favorite part of the experience was.
"Just interacting with the other players," he said. "You know, it was a lot of work, a lot of film study. A coach's job down there was 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. So we're on the go.
"But I think just the relationships with the players, them really trusting in me and actually putting what I've said to work. I think that was most gratifying."
And when he was done coaching and he headed back to California, Walters had even more respect for the men who make coaching their year-round career.
"It's a lot of work, a lot of film study," he said. "As a player, after practice during training camp you get a nap or you go relax. As a coach, you go right after practice to watch film as a staff.
"Then you watch it as a team. Then after dinner, you watch more film. It's just a lot of film work and just long hours."
Walters is an unrestricted free agent and isn't sure what the future holds for him as he enjoys what little remains of the offseason. But he clearly would love to stay with the Colts if the opportunity is presented, providing another team doesn't come up with an offer that would allow him to get more time on the field.
"They've provided me a great home for the last four years," he said of the Colts. "The organization is first class. Coach Dungy is a first class coach and a first class man.
"To be able to play for him and that organization, it's truly been a blessing. I hope to continue to playing here for a few more years, but if not, then it definitely has been a blessing."
ColtPower will present our Q&A session with Troy where he talks about the precarious and challenging job of being a returns specialist, catching passes from Peyton Manning, what will weigh into his decision-making process if he gets offers from other teams ... and more! Check back on Wednesday for that article and some exclusive audio from our interview.
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