Rookie linebacker Freddie Keiaho started his journey towards landing a roster spot in Indianapolis earlier this year when he and many other talented collegiate football players made their way to Indy for the NFL Combine.
Keiaho was one of the players the Colts selected for a private, formal interview. And he made the best of the opportunity, leaving a very positive impression of who he was as a football player and as a person. And he was equally impressed by Colts head coach Tony Dungy.
"I thought about all the good things you hear about Coach Dungy and they're all true," Keiaho told ColtPower this week. "He's a very humble man, he's very down-to-earth and honest and genuine. And he has a relationship with Jesus Christ. I think all of those factors are what drew him to me and me to him because we have a lot of the same morals and beliefs."
While some fans on draft day weren't very familiar with the San Diego State middle linebacker and may have been surprised by his selection in the third round of the NFL draft, the Colts knew he was worth it. Not only did they interview him at the Combine, they brought him to Indianapolis as one of their thirty pre-draft interview prospects.
"They said I was very passionate about what I was doing, I knew how to play the game, I'm very instinctual and I'm a student of the game," Keiaho said. "That's the main thing in the NFL -- how fast you can assimilate knowledge and learn new things and learn from your mistakes. I think I do that very well and I think I did a good job of displaying that to them."
The interviews are a great opportunity for a team to get inside a player's
head and see how much he understands the Xs and Os, especially in relationship
to the schemes they use. But the Colts also saw a player who hungered for
victory when they interviewed Freddie Keiaho.
"I want to win. I'm a competitive person and want to be the best at everything I do," he said. "The driving factor to me is to win the Super Bowl because we play a team sport and the greatest team goal is to win the championship.
"That's what I've had my goals set on since I started playing football. I won a lot of championships in Pop Warner and high school, but then in college we didn't have a winning season, so I'm hoping to break out of that mold and do big things on a winning team."
Another quality that undoubtedly stood out about Keiaho to the Colts is his overall calm and loose demeanor that is an intriguing mix with his fiery passion for football. During his interview with this week, it was evident that this is a guy who doesn't get flustered or overwhelmed. Because he's just doing what he loves -- playing football.
"Rookie camp wasn't a big deal," he said. "It was cool to get the helmet and put the helmet on, but the real fun came going into mini-camp where you get to line up with all of those guys you see on TV. I remember I had to re-route Brandon Stokley and I was looking out at Peyton Manning and thinking 'wow this is a trip, it's like Madden Football or something.'
"You hear stories a lot about guys walking around at practice and the vets running the show, but that's completely the opposite in Indianapolis. Coach Meeks was yelling at guys to be running in between the drills and once I heard that I thought this is just football, this is a game I've played my whole life -- and I felt like I really belonged there."
Keiaho does belong. He's got the speed, athleticism, instincts and football smarts to excel in this league. So to any doubters out there, listen up. Freddie Keiaho is a name you're going to hear often before his career in Indianapolis comes to an end.
On Saturday, ColtPower Insiders can enjoy our Q&A session with
Freddie Keiaho, including some exclusive audio clips. You won't want to miss
this great interview where he talks about the other teams that were interested
in him, where he's listed on the depth chart, his thoughts on the Colts defense,
his special teams work, and much more!