INDIANAPOLIS – The previous stay in Indy was just two months for Matt Gay, and it was during the COVID season, but the impression was pretty strong.
Of course, Gay and the Colts this marriage together lasts a lot longer than that brief period in the fall of 2020.
One of the biggest splashes Chris Ballard has made in his free agency history comes with giving Gay a 4-year contract north of $20 million.
And Gay, a Utah native, hopes this is a place where his family can call home for quite some time.
“I mean I loved my time here. It was an important time for my career to come back here after Tampa and be on practice squad where I could just reset and kind of mentally get back to me and who I wanted to be and figure out this process. So, my time in Indy was really special for me and really great. I connected with it, I loved it here.
“Going through free agency, it was my first time really hitting free agency and being able to explore the market. I think a few things went into it. Most importantly was for me and my family, my two boys, my wife – this is a place that we can see our family living and we can see our family being able to settle down here and live here and raise our children here. Obviously, the contract is the contract. You want to take care of your family and do that. I would be lying if I didn’t say that wasn’t a factor in the decision. But yeah, I think most importantly, I was familiar with the Colts, I love the organization, I loved my time here. Me and my wife felt really good about being able to raise our family here and bringing our boys here. Then, it just felt right.”
The NFL world has always been intrigued by Gay.
He was a 5th round pick back in 2019, taken 145th, which was the 2nd highest a kicker had been selected since 2011.
After some early struggles, Gay showed with the Rams the type of kicker many thought he could be at this level.
In earning Pro Bowl honors in 2021, Gay went 32-of-34 on his field goals 48-of-49 on extra points.
He followed that up last season by going 28-of-30 on field goals (lone misses from 51 and 61 yards) and 31-of-32 on extra points.
Length is no issue for the 29-year-old Gay.
For his career, he’s 17-of-23 on field goals north of 50 yards.
And in 6 playoff games, Gay is 12-of-14 on field goals and 14-of-14 on extra points.
The Colts made a statement with this move in taking a position Chase McLaughlin steadied last year and looking to upgrade it to a Pro Bowl level.
That’s the expectation for Gay in Indy.
After those early-career questions, including a practice squad stay in Indy, Gay found stability and now is back with the Colts as one of the NFL’s most impressive current kickers.
“Really for all positions but kicking, there’s such a focus and spotlight on you,” Gay explains. “When you’re kicking, nothing else is happening, everybody else is watching you and things like that. “Itt’s a confidence thing and I think who you’re around and who’s behind you that’s giving you the confidence or instilling confidence in you, whether they’re doing that or they’re not. I think for each kicker, it’s individual.
“I definitely had that moment, when my time in Tampa was up and down. I think getting away from that and people tell you, ‘Hey, you can do this and you are good.’ To know you can do it and then see a couple go through the uprights, that confidence just starts to build and build and build. I think we see it a lot of times with guys who start out, maybe it’s not a good fit and then they get to another team and they take off a little bit. I think it’s just finding the right fit, the right organization for people and for kickers especially, it’s just a confidence thing I think.”
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