The Indianapolis Colts took a chance on linebacker Jerrell Freeman when the signed him to a contract on January 16th earlier this season. If you look in the record book, it says Freeman has one year NFL experience prior to joining the Colts. Many people would think he’s probably a 22 or 23 year old kid coming off of a disappointing season elsewhere.
What most don’t know is Freeman is 26 years old and making a second attempt at the NFL after spending the previous three seasons in the CFL. Freeman, wasn’t drafted in 2008, but signed a rookie free agent deal with the Tennessee Titans. He didn’t fare well in the preseason and was released prior to the start of the regular season.
Freeman, signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL in 2009. He was mainly used on special teams his rookie season and recorded 25 tackles. In 2010, he was used more as a linebacker and ended up starting most of the season including the postseason. Last season, Freeman led the CFL in tackles with 105 and really turned some heads.
The Colts took a chance on Freeman in the offseason and gave him a shot in training camp. His break came when starting Colts middle linebacker Pat Angerer broke a bone in his foot during the first series of the Indianapolis’ first preseason game. Angerer was ruled out for six weeks, so the Colts gave three guys a shot at Angerer’s replacement.
Freeman made the most of it and earned the starting role for the first game of the regular season last weekend. His journey was enough, but what Freeman did Sunday proved he’s going to make the Colts line backing core deep when Angerer returns.
Freeman, picked off Jay Cutler very early in the game and returned the interception four yards for the first score of the season. It was the first time an undrafted Colts player returned an interception in his debut game. Freeman also became the first undrafted NFL player to return an interception for a touchdown in his debut since linebacker Peter Noga and defensive back Paul Tripoli both accomplished that feat in 1987.
Another big accomplishment for Freeman was he led the entire team in tackles with 13. That’s huge for a guy playing in his first NFL game.
Freeman’s story is a great one and I hope this turns out great for him. He’s certainly earned it and I wish the best for him this weekend against Minnesota and for the rest of the season. He deserves a spot on this team. He’s a great example of hardwork paying off.