Colts Q&A With T.J. Rushing

Cornerback and returns specialist T.J. Rushing reflected on his rookie year and his offseason during this exclusive interview with Ed Thompson. And don't miss the second half of this interview on Friday where he'll talk about the Super Bowl, the impact of free agency on the team, and on his role.

Ed Thompson: What have you been doing since the Super Bowl?

T.J. Rushing: I came back to Oklahoma, took a couple weeks off and relaxed, hung out with high school friends and I'm traveling a little bit. Now I'm back, I'll buckle back down and I'm working out all over again.

ET: What was it like hanging out with your old friends knowing they were looking at you as a guy who will be wearing a Super Bowl ring?

TR: (laughs) It was fun, it was nice. It was nice being back home. I'm from a small town, everyone was supporting us and went to a couple of Super Bowl parties and everyone was talking about it.

ET: You said you've been traveling. Where have you gone?

TR: Just small places, down in Texas, down in Dallas. I was supposed to go on a cruise, but I had to head back to Indy for our physicals.

ET: So it really is starting all over again…

TR: Yeah, there's not as much of a break as people might think.

ET: Have they given you a schedule for your first minicamp yet?

TR: I'm not sure about minicamp, but I know we have voluntary workouts April 14th or something like that, so we're about to jump right back into it.

ET: Did the time go a lot faster than you thought it would?

TR: Yeah, it definitely did. I was taking a couple weeks off and before I knew it, I was like "alright TJ that's enough time off, you gotta start working out again," but the time definitely flew by.

ET: Looking back on your rookie season, was it anything like what you expected it to be?

TR: At times, yes. At times, no. It was definitely an up-and-down year for me personally. But as a team it couldn't have gone any better. That was a whirlwind of a year, being on such a great team after coming from Stanford and struggling the last four years. It was great to be on a winning team again. It's a long preseason though.

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
ET: How did you handle moving to the practice squad early on, and then the gameday roster decisions throughout the year?

TR: I was only put on the practice squad for the first week of the season after I had made it through the final cuts. That was nerve racking because I wanted to stay in Indianapolis. I love it here. The ups and downs were mainly walking into the locker room not knowing whether or not you'd be dressing that weekend; that was very difficult.

ET: What were you able to learn as a returns specialist working with Terrence Wilkins last season?

TR: Terrence definitely helped me out tremendously. He was there for me and could teach me even little simple things like when to fair catch, when not to fair catch, opportunities for a good return, what to look for on a return, just little small detail stuff. He helped me out tremendously because of all the experience he's had.

ET: What was it like playing special teams at the pro level for the first time?

TR: It started out very challenging, but you learn to adapt very fast or else you won't be out there very often. I think I ended up in the middle or end of the year, I thought I did fairly well on that. It was definitely challenging, every week the guys you're going against are the best guys out there, so you have to bring your "A" game every time or guys will start to embarrass you.

ET: Was there anyone on the special teams unit you were able to learn some pointers from?

TR: Kelvin Hayden might be one of the best guys I've ever seen watching tape, whether it's the whole team or not, he usually does a fairly good job of getting down the field. Just learning a small portion from guys like Marlin (Jackson), Dexter Reid, just all the guys that were doing it, it helps a lot.

Check back on Friday for the second half of our interview with Colts cornerback T.J. Rushing where he'll talk about his Super Bowl experience, Terrence Wilkins' uncertain future with the club and Nick Harper's departure, how both of those situations could impact his role this year, and much more. It's a subscribers' exclusive!

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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