INDIANAPOLIS – Two years into his NFL career, Reece Fountain’s professional game film looks like this:
-7 snaps played.
-6 as the last line of defense on kneel downs.
-1 dropped touchdown in a playoff loss, which (thankfully for Fountain) was negated due to penalty.
Yet, Fountain enters his third NFL season as a curious wide receiver prospect.
Because of the fact that he is a former draft pick (Round 5 in 2018) and turned several important heads during last year’s training camp.
It was a step in the right direction after Fountain had to change his ways following a ‘humbling’ rookie campaign.
Why did Fountain play so little in his first NFL season?
Admitted poor work ethic. Not enough dedication to his craft. Didn’t earn the trust of the coaching staff in camp.
It was quite the wakeup call for the 5th round pick out of Northern Iowa.
Fountain, who stands 6-2 and 210 pounds, came into 2019 re-focused, knowing he had to make quite the impression to earn a 53-man roster spot.
As training camp reached a close at Grand Park, Fountain was doing just that.
“He was (doing all the right things),” then wide receivers coach Kevin Patullo said of Fountain, during an interview with Colts.com earlier this offseason. “He realized what he needed to do to improve and he was working on it and was putting the time in.
“He’s had a great camp,” Frank Reich said on the day Fountain’s 2019 season ended. “He’s worked extremely hard and looked extremely good.”
It was a fractured and dislocated ankle that ended Fountain’s second NFL season right there on the practice field at Grand Park.
From the sidelines of the final camp practice, you could hear Fountain’s emotions spilling out knowing what the gruesome injury meant.
“When you are a coach and you put in the time with somebody and they put the time in back to you and they are doing everything you want and something like that happens, it’s hard to see, because you know how they are trending,” Patullo, who is now the team’s ‘pass game specialist,’ says.
With the 2020 season approaching, it goes without saying how important it is for Fountain.
The word ‘unknown’ is the name of the game for the Colts wideouts:
-Can T.Y. Hilton rebound with a healthy campaign in 2020?
-Is Michael Pittman ready to be the rare rookie wideout who makes an instant impact?
-Were Parris Campbell’s injuries from last season a fluke?
Toss Fountain into that group needing to prove something.
And that’s what the last 10 months have been about for Fountain, responding from a major obstacle.
“You go to the next step and say, ‘Okay, it’s a step back, but what did we learn from this? And look where you are at. So let’s continue to try and grow from here and work on your confidence and work on things that you are able to. You maybe not be playing but you can still work on stuff while you’re not playing,’” Patullo says, recalling a conversation with Fountain after he suffered the devastating ankle injury.
“It’s hard to say that right away, but as time goes, you can realize that you can get better as you go.”
When camp does start in a month and a half, Fountain will be a name to watch.
And the 24-year-old wideout is quite eager to add some actual highlights to his NFL reel.