Quietest Colts WR, Ryan Grant, might be their most reliable
It's probably fitting that the player who led the Indianapolis Colts in receptions in Week 1 is the one nobody would have guessed, because he's one of the quietest and most low-key players on the roster.
You would probably think that receiver T.Y. Hilton or tight end Jack Doyle, the two favorite career targets of Andrew Luck, would have led the Colts with it being the quarterback's first game back in 20 months.
It was receiver Ryan Grant, who is in his first season with the Colts after four seasons in a reserve role with Washington. He had eight receptions on nine targets for 59 yards against the Bengals.
"His game is like him, quiet," fellow receiver Chester Rogers said. "He lets his play do the talking. I respect that. He gets the job done by any means. That's just R.G."
Grant's performance kind of summed him up. He signed with the Colts last spring after the Baltimore Ravens said he failed a physical. It appeared Grant would be the third receiver behind Hilton and Rogers, but the Colts opened training camp with Grant as the No. 2 receiver behind Hilton, and he's had the job ever since.
"He's just a hard worker," Colts coach Frank Reich said. "For example, in the last preseason game when I was talking to [Bengals linebacker coach] Jim Haslett, who was on their staff. He was in Washington with Ryan, and [Haslett] was just singing his praises about how much this kid is a hard worker, just really good receiver and 'you guys are fortunate you got him.' That's who [Grant] is: He's quiet, but he works hard and comes to play -- a tough kid."
Receivers can be some of the most flamboyant players on the field. A big catch can sometimes be followed with the first-down signal or spinning of the football. A touchdown can lead to some kind of celebration. That's not Grant.
He learned early on that there's no need for any over-the-top antics in high school. He received an earful from his coach in Texas after he did a somersault into the end zone when scoring a touchdown.
"Around me, he talks," Hilton said. "Everybody is always asking me why he's so quiet. The best way to say it is that's just how he is. He doesn't get caught up in the whole trying to show off or anything like that. He just plays and does what he feels comfortable with. Talking is not one of them."
The closest Grant has come to showing his personality as a Colt came the first time he met with the media in April and he compared Luck to Grammy Award winning producer Dr. Dre because of the quarterback's ability to make those around him better.
"I've been humble my entire life," Grant said. "I'm not going to change what I've been doing my whole life now. It doesn't make any sense to do that. I feel like I've been cool since I was a little kid, so I don't have to put on a front to be cool in front of some other guys."
Grant was humbled when the Ravens surprised many people by saying the receiver failed his physical during the offseason. He knew he wasn't going back to Washington after spending four years there. Luckily for him, the Colts circled back to Grant to tell him they were still interested in signing him.
"I was told as a rookie they can take this game from you at any moment," Grant said. "It can get ugly, too, so when that situation [with Baltimore] went down the way that it went down I was shook for a minute, for a couple of hours. Then it came back to me. Just part of the business, part of the game. Have to move forward, and that's what I've done."
If having a career-high eight receptions is moving forward, then Grant has done it while he playing in an offense that puts an emphasis on spreading the ball around.
"To get that many balls thrown to you in a game, it means the quarterback trusts you, that's for sure," offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said.
"That trust isn't just built up like that," he adds with a snap of his fingers. "It took the OTAs, it took the training camp. … Yeah, [Grant]'s quiet. He's talked to me a couple times when he says he wants the ball more. I think some of those quiet guys you've got to suspect them the most [to be fiery]."