Colts Q&A With T.J. Rushing

Seventh-round draft pick T.J. Rushing took a few moments to chat with ColtPower's Ed Thompson this week. Find out what he thought of his first pro game against the Jets, what he's learned about Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne by practicing against them, his prospects for the future and much more!

ET: Let's rewind for a moment, you did end up going down to the practice squad for a couple of weeks. How worried were you about going on waivers? Did you think you might get snagged by another team?

TR: I did a little bit, but Mr. Polian assured me that the reason we did it on Tuesday morning or Monday night was because most people get picked up on waivers on the weekend. So they didn't want to do it Saturday because they were afraid someone would try to snag me, so they tried to do it at a time when it was least likely I would get picked up.

ET: What was it like being on the scout team, emulating the other teams' defenses?

TR: It was good work. I get to go against Peyton (Manning), Marvin (Harrison), Reggie (Wayne), and (Brandon) Stokely everyday in practice. It was fun trying to disguise coverages to trick Peyton and intercept the ball off of him. It's fun and great work because I have to be on top of my game everyday or those guys will make me look really bad.

ET: Guys like Marvin and Reggie are tough to handle. What's the biggest challenge presented by each one of them when you have to try and cover them during practice?

TR: Covering Marvin, he runs great routes. It's hard to tell exactly what he's going to do and his first move is so real it's hard not to fall for it. Reggie, when the ball's in the air, it's like it's his ball. He has really strong hands and a good grip so even if you're in position to make the play it's hard to get the ball away from him.

ET: You got called up in time for the Jets game, which ended up being a really wild game. What was going through your head?

TR: Oh, wow…(laughs)….momentum flows up and down in each game, but the end of that game probably had the quickest momentum changes of any game I've ever been a part of. When we scored with two minutes left our defense was like "alright it's time to shut them down let's go" and we were getting our defense hyped -- and then they returned the kickoff for the touchdown and their fans got back into it. Then Peyton led a drive that was incredible with no time outs, pretty easily and scored so their crowd was back out of it. Then that last play, the further and further they got the more the crowd got more and more into it – so it was just a crazy game.

ET: Stanford had a pretty tough season your last year there. Was it wild to go from an environment like that to then having your first pro game be so exciting and coming out with a win?

TR: Yeah, definitely. At Stanford it seemed like we were the Jets; we always came up on the losing end of games that we were in control of for the whole game and then a team like the Colts who knows how to finish would just get it done. I feel very fortunate to be on a team that's on the opposite end of the spectrum that always finds a way to win, like we have the last two weeks, regardless of the circumstance. At Stanford it seemed like something always happened no matter how well we played the first three and a half quarters and we'd often end up losing.

ET: Terrence (Wilkins) handled the returns in the Jets game. Did you see most of your action on coverage teams?

TR: Yeah, I ran down on punt team and one time on kick-off, not the one they score on though (laughs). I did that and I was up and ready to play defense if another DB went down. I would have been the nickel back in that situation. So I was up and ready to help on defense and out on special teams.

ET: So what's in the future for you? Have they given you any indication? Terrence was out with a concussion and I can't imagine after you ran back a huge return like you did that they're going to think they can slide you through waivers back onto the practice squad again.

TR: I actually haven't heard anything so I honestly do not know. I'm hoping that after what I've tried to contribute during the last two weeks that I can actually stay on the active roster and finish the season as a Colt.

ET: I sure think you deserve it. You showed them again that brilliance that you bring to that return team. Terrence does a nice job, but I think you certainly add another punch to it that would certainly be handy to have at their beck and call on any given week. I'm certainly hoping the best for you as well.

TR: Thank you so much.

ET: What are you going to do with your time off?

TR: I'm heading back to Oklahoma to my hometown, relax with my family and eat a couple good home-cooked meals.

ET: How long's it been since you've been home?

TR: Oh, probably since I reported for camp. I'm used to not being home for long stetches because I went to school out in California. So it's good that it's something I'm used to.

ET: How much family do you have? Who will you be seeing when you go back? 

TR: Mom, Dad, I'm sure both of my sisters will be coming home since I'll be there, niece, nephew, both grandmas, aunts and uncles, tons of family.

ET: What part of Oklahoma are you in?

TR: Pauls Valley

ET: Well I hope you have a wonderful time and we'll certainly be pulling for you to stay up on the roster; I'd love to see you keep doing great.

TR: Thanks.

ET: Is there anything else I can share with the fans with you at this point?

TR: Just that I was glad to be out there on Sunday, it was my first game in the dome and I appreciate their support.

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