Last weekend, the Indianapolis Colts waived linebacker Daniel Adongo after he suffered a bicep injury in their first preseason game against the New York Jets. Every report that crossed my wires (ie. Twitter) was quick to point out that if he cleared waivers, he’d return to the Colts’ injured reserves. I really, really wanted that to happen.
He’s not a marquee player. As far as I can tell, he’s never collected a single “meaningful” game statistic. But I was legitimately worried about losing him, and legitimately relieved when he was placed on Colts’ IR on August 11. Many Colts fans have probably never heard of him, but he’s exactly the sort of player football fans enjoy rooting for, especially during the preseason.
Originally from Kenya, Adongo came to the United States during the summer of 2013 because scouts thought he might be good at gridiron football. He took a chance and left a promising professional rugby career in South Africa. When he arrived in Indianapolis last July, he didn’t even know the rules.
He was signed to the Colts’ practice squad, worked hard, and was on the active roster by the first week of December. He’s a fast learner and a raw, malleable talent — a great example of the Colts finding potential in unconventional corners of the sports world.
Adongo is the sort of player fans should be excited about. He’s proven himself to be dedicated. Longtime followers of punter Pat McAfee‘s Twitter feed know he’s also artistic, maybe a little like if Matt Saracen played defense. He’s the sort of player fans should want to see rewarded. Potentially, he’s the sort of player who harms his team later if they let him get away.