Utecht's Talent Extends Far Beyond Football

Colts' tight end Ben Utecht is one-of-a-kind, in a way that has nothing to do with football. The life he leads goes well beyond the football field, as do his interests. Todd Taylor fills you in on this multi-faceted and talented player.

When you see Ben Utecht's 6-foot-7, 250-pound frame crashing into players on the gridiron, it is hard to imagine that behind the helmet is a man who has a special musical talent — singing. This is hardly just a part-time hobby for Utecht; just ask President George W. Bush and his father George H. Bush.

"Our senator in Minnesota had his republican race and they (President Bush and his father) were keynote speakers. I sang the national anthem," Utecht recently told ColtPower.

This performance wasn't a one-time deal; Utecht also sang the national anthem at a Colts' preseason game during his rookie season. Surprisingly, that wasn't even the biggest crowd he has sung in front of.

"I sang the national anthem at a college football game against Purdue after 9-11 and it was a pretty packed house that day. So I'm guessing anywhere from forty-five to sixty thousand people is probably the biggest," he said.

For Utecht, singing is a passion, a way to express himself in ways he can't on the football field.

"I get excited to sing, I don't ever really get nervous anymore, getting in front of people to sing. It just really gives me a chance to share a part of me that people don't usually see, and it's also a major part of my faith," Utecht said. "It is something I want to pursue after football is done."

Utecht hopes to turn his musical talent, which includes playing the acoustic guitar, into something much more, by using it as a way to express his faith.

"As far as Christian music goes, I'm going to start my own ministry called 'Surrender the Game,'" he said. "I really hope to turn this music venture into a ministry. I really have a heart for that and I enjoy traveling and speaking to kids and sharing my testimony with them."

In mid-July, Utecht will marry his fiancée, Karyn Stordahl, otherwise known as the 2005 Miss Minnesota. Utecht and Stordahl met in college and she is quite the athlete herself.

"She's a wonderful golfer, in fact, right now she's in L.A. shooting the reality golf show, Big Break," he said. "She was one of eight girls in the country to make the T.V. show."

Stordahl shares Utecht's passion for music and is a gifted piano player. The two spend a lot of time singing and writing together.

Utecht's sports background is also unique. His grandfather was the voice of the Minnesota Northstars when they were still playing in Minnesota, leading to Utecht's love for the sport of hockey. He used to play goalie.

"It was really a great choice (playing goalie) because it's one of the things I really attribute to my quickness and leg strength, just because of all the camps I went to growing up and all of the things I did," Utecht said.

Aside from being the Colts' backup long-snapper, Utecht has other special teams skills. In high school, he was an all-state punter, but don't expect him to fill in at the position if Hunter Smith gets injured.

"Well, I threw it out there to Russ (Purnell), our special teams coach, and I don't know if he took me all that seriously," he said. "But, you know, if I really tried to pursue it harder, I'm sure they'd give me a look."

For now, Utecht is too busy trying to become a consistent target for Peyton Manning to worry about punting. He is completely recovered from his injuries and ready for action. He believes this is the season he will make a big impact for the Colts.

"I'm very confident that I'm going to get a shot to be one of the starters at the wide (second tight end) position and I'm just going to work as hard as I can to take that spot," he said.

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