They say a man should be judged by his actions, not just his words. And rookie linebacker Freddie Keiaho sent a strong message with his actions in the closing minutes of the game to both his teammates and Colts fans around the world.
In what some would call a meaningless preseason game, little more than a glorified practice to tune-up for the regular season, Freddie Keiaho still wanted to win -- with all of his huge heart.
His team trailed 19-17 to the Rams in front of a national audience. It was fourth-and-one and the Colts were out of timeouts. If the defense failed to hold off the Rams, they would be able to run out the clock and Indianapolis would lose.
Keiaho was having none of that without a fight.
But after he literally threw himself into the play, he suffered an injury that's going to cost him at least a week of practice time, possibly as much as three weeks according to what he's been told by the doctors who examined his knee on Friday.
"They ran the quarterback sneak. I was trying to make a play on the quarterback in hopes of causing a fumble so our offense would have a chance to win the game," he explained to ColtPower Saturday night. "I dove over the pile, slipped off the quarterback, and my knee got caught between the center and the guard."
The official diagnosis? Thankfully, only a sprained MCL with no tears evident based on the MRI results.
"I knew something was wrong right after it happened, but I had hoped not to this degree," Keiaho said. "I was trying to walk it off since we had the next day off, but I wasn't able to do that.
"We're just going to have to take it day by day and see what happens."
Does Keiaho regret throwing himself into the play like he did, even now after realizing the impact it's going to have on him for at least the next week? Not at all. He's that dedicated to seeing his team win. It's the fire that burns inside him 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
"I just want to help this team win in any way possible, even if it's just in the preseason, even if it means me giving up some of my personal health," he said. "The only thing I care about is winning. That's one thing I really want the fans to know about me."
Keiaho knows that he'll now be relegated to watching from the sidelines and sitting in meetings, his playing time on hold until his knee and the doctors tell him he can run back onto the field.
"Sitting and watching is just going to make me even more hungry to play," he said.
And now that he's had a taste of what the real NFL game action is like, it's going to be even harder for him to wait to get back out there. Thinking back to his game experience during our interview, he said, "It was a blast. It was just so much fun out there. Running, hitting somebody and playing football. It was just crazy. All the guys are out there looking at me like, 'What are you doing, this isn't even the regular season yet, this isn't even when the real fun happens.'"
Freddie Keiaho can't wait to experience that fun and the feeling he'll get when he looks up at the scoreboard after his first win as an NFL player.
So that knee better heal pretty darn fast. He's not going to be very patient.