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INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL’s leader in tackles for loss is a 31-year-old defensive lineman, who entered the 2018 season with 5 career starts, having his spot on the team’s 53-man roster debated throughout the offseason and isn’t one of the league’s top 100 paid defensive linemen in the NFL.

 

Honestly, it doesn’t make much sense that Hunt has 8 tackles for loss and 3 sacks through the first three games.

 

Coming into his 6th NFL season, Hunt’s career numbers looked like this: 8 total tackles for loss, 1.5 career sacks.

 

So why is Hunt playing at an All-Pro level in September?

 

He says it’s simply about getting reps, earning major playing time for the first time in his NFL career.

 

Hunt was always a rotational player in his first four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. When his rookie contract came up following the 2016 season, Cincinnati had seen enough from their 2013 second-round pick.

 

The Colts inked Hunt to a two-year deal in March 2017, believing that he could make the transition to a 3-4 defense.

 

In Indianapolis, Hunt was a productive player in playing all 16 games with 5 starts last season.

 

But with the Colts switching back to a 4-3 this year, the same front Hunt played in with the Bengals, there were questions if he would keep his roster spot, with the youth movement not in his favor.

 

However, Hunt proved early in Training Camp he was going to be a mainstay in 2018. And with the recent injury to Denico Autry, the Colts have needed Hunt to play all over their defensive line.

 

“I just think he takes coaching, he’s a good athlete, he’s a big, powerful man and he does a good job of just working every day,” new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus says of Hunt.

 

“He’s a great worker number one. He’s just really bought into taking off on the football, working his technique and fundamentals that Coach (Mike) Phair is working with him and Coach (Robert) Mathis is working with him really hard. I think it’s just been that. Just basic, good old-fashioned hard work and that’s what he has been doing.”

 

Through three weeks, Hunt has played the third most snaps of any NFL defensive linemen

 

His three sacks rank just behind household names Cameron Jordan, Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Myles Garrett and DeForest Buckner.

 

Another reason to point for Hunt’s sudden emergence is his lack of football history.

 

Remember, Hunt grew up in the country of Estonia. He was a track star in northeastern Europe. He didn’t play football before arriving to Southern Methodist University. When the SMU track program folded, Hunt tried football.

 

Unlike just about every NFL player north of the age of 30, Hunt has only played 10 years of football in his life.

 

Something about this 10th season has Hunt as the Colts’ biggest surprise in 2018.

 

Earlier this week, Hunt welcomed a son named Haegen James to his family of four.

 

The weight of Haegen?

 

9 pounds, 2 ounces.

 

Seems fitting for the guy who wears jersey No. 92.