Just prior to the start of the 2005 season, the Colts made a trade with the Tennessee Titans to bring linebacker Rocky Calmus to Indianapolis, adding significant talent depth to their linebacker corps and special teams units. The trade ultimately only cost the Colts their pick near the bottom of the seventh-round in this year's draft -- a real value for a player with starter experience at the NFL level. But shortly after his arrival, Calmus suffered a badly torn hamstring that required surgery. Earlier in his career, he had torn his other hamstring while playing against the Colts in a regular season game. ColtPower talked to Calmus about the injuries in this profile article and in this follow-up interview. This week, we checked in with his agent, Mark Slough, to find out if Calmus would be ready for the 2006 season. And just as important, whether or not he will be a Colt since he's an unrestricted free agent in March.
Q: Mark, tell us about how Rocky's rehab is going.
A: Rocky's right on schedule and doing very well. He's running, moving well. He met with the team doctor a week or so ago and we got an excellent report. There's absolutely no reason to believe that he won't be able to participate in any offseason workouts that should be coming up towards the end of March.
Q: Colts president Bill Polian made a comment recently on a radio show in reference to Rocky in which he said Rocky's career "is in jeopardy" because of "a long series of injuries." What are your thoughts on that?
A: Well, I did hear the comment, but the fact is that the Colts' team physician is telling us that Rocky's doing very well and there's no reason that he won't be able to continue to play football. I would also say that at this time last year, there were lots of NFL people saying the same kind of thing about Kyle Vanden Bosch who missed two of his first four seasons with torn ACLs -- a much more significant injury. Kyle just got back from the Pro Bowl and is about to sign a multi-million dollar deal with the Titans.
There are loads of guys who have gone on and had very successful careers after suffering a multitude of injuries. It's just the nature of the NFL, the nature of the business. Injuries are going to happen. Unfortunately for Rocky, he's had a couple of years where he suffered through that, but there's no reason medically that he won't be able to come back and return to the same form that he had in Tennessee when he played so well. Fortunately, with this type of injury it's fixable, it's repairable. In fact, there's a school of thought that you can come out of that and actually be stronger than you were beforehand.
We're really encouraged, and I know Rocky's working hard every day down here in Nashville. He's in a full rehab program under the direction of the Colts training staff, following their instructions, and doing very well.
Q: Rocky came to the Colts as a result of a trade between the Colts and the Titans. As a result, the Colts gave up their seventh-round pick in this year's draft for him, and some have now wondered in hindsight if it was really a good value. What's your perspective on that?
A: Well certainly in retrospect it's hard because he didn't get to play. But setting that aside for a moment, historically less than 50% of your seventh-round draft picks end up making the opening day 53-man roster. The hit rate on those guys is not that great. So to take a guy like Rocky, who was an All-American, a Butkus Award winner at Oklahoma, the starting middle linebacker in Tennessee in a year when they had the number one rush defense in the NFL, you've got a guy with proven ability to hold his own in the middle. The guy has incredible instincts as a middle linebacker. His first step is never wrong. The knock on Rocky has never been talent, it's just recently been about his health. But I think it was an excellent trade on the front end for Indy given the fact that you usually can't statistically count on those seventh-rounders to end up on your roster.
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