INDIANAPOLIS – If Jack Doyle had to endure the offseason that the NFL is currently undergoing, it seems like a longshot his career would be nearing a 10-year run with his hometown team.
Of course, knowing Doyle, he probably would have found his way to show a team that he’s too darn valuable, too consistent and too reliable to not have an NFL career.
As a 2013 undrafted free agent, Doyle is a firm believer that the in-person spring offseason program back then aided his development.
“I was talking to our tight end coach, Jason Michael, about that and I feel bad for some of those undrafted guys, if we don’t have a spring program at all,” Doyle, a 2013 undrafted free agent of the Titans, said.
“I feel like back in Tennessee I made a good impression during the spring right off the bat and then kind of carried that into camp. I ended up getting cut and was going to sign to the practice squad (but) got claimed here. Back then, I just tried to play football and what the spring did I feel like (was) it made me feel like I belonged during that time. I was able to carry over a little momentum into preseason games and things like that.”
From afar, the Colts saw something in Doyle during that 2013 offseason worthy enough of bringing the Indy native onto their 53-man roster.
A feel-good story with local media crowding the locker of Doyle has turned into him being one of the team’s most dependable players.
Frank Reich has always gushed about Doyle, but the actions of the head coach tells even more of the story.
Doyle played the 6th most snaps of any NFL tight end last season. The former undrafted free agent saw more play time last season than the likes of Kyle Rudolph (2nd round pick), O.J. Howard (1st round pick), Jimmy Graham (3rd round pick) and Hunter Henry (2nd round pick).
For the durable Doyle, it was important for him to get back to being available, after hip and kidney injuries limited to just 10 games played in 2018.
“Obviously, going into last year was a completely different offseason than I’ve been through having the hip surgery and I was getting over the kidney procedure, so that was a completely different offseason in trying to get ready and get my body back,” the recently turned 30-year-old says. “I’ve scaled back a little bit in what I do early on in (the offseason) not pushing myself too far, honestly because I feel like I got into that in 2018. Not that that caused injuries or anything, but just to give my body more of a break after this year.”
Now, going into his 8th NFL season, Doyle has altered his workout routine in the offseason.
“I think it has to change,” Doyle says. “You have to evaluate yourself every year, see how you’re feeling and just listen to your body and be smart.”
In giving Doyle a three-year contract extension (through the 2022 season) last December, the Colts view their old faithful tight end as a key piece moving into a new decade.
Whenever locker rooms do open back up again, the media will continue to gather around Doyle, because (8 years later) the hometown kid is still writing a pretty cool story.
“I think about those days every so often,” a reserved Doyle says of the Colts claiming him back in 2013. “I think of old teammates. I just think me as a player, I just try to get better every day and let that kind of snowball. The same thing as a person, you have your ups and downs as a player like you do as a person. Just trying to improve.”
Simple, yet effective.