Although it’s difficult to recall the Indianapolis Colts of the past, there are many highlights from this era. Manning, Marvin Harrison, Tarik Glenn, and Marshall Faulk all had a role in the team’s success. The Colts’ defense was not strong enough and their secondary was not up to the mark. And as for their defensive coordinator, Rusty Tillman, you’ll remember him for his special teams work. Unfortunately, Tillman did not last long in Indianapolis.
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Peyton Manning, now called “Peyton”, struggled to produce consistent points in his first five games as a rookie. However, team executives knew they were in for growing pains, and they were prepared to deal with them. Manning opened the 1998 season by passing for 302 yards in a loss to Miami of 24-15. He also suffered a devastating overtime loss to New Orleans.
Marvin Harrison, a Philadelphian, was one of the most successful players in Indianapolis Colts’ history. The 1996 NFL Draft’s top-rated receiver became one of the NFL’s most productive players. Harrison spent 13 seasons with the Colts. He was selected for eight Pro Bowls and earned three 1st-team All Pro honors. His career highlights include being selected to eight Pro Bowls and having three receiving touchdowns, among other achievements. In addition to being a Hall of Famer, Harrison still holds a number of Colts franchise records.
As a rookie in 1997, Tarik Glenn, the Colts’ first-round pick, played at guard. In Year 2, he switched to left tackle and quickly became one of the most respected left tackles in the NFL. He was selected to three Pro Bowls. Glenn faced Jason Taylor twice a year during his three years with Colts. He was a top-notch defensive back and was responsible for protecting Peyton Manning’s blindside from any passing rushers.
Peyton Manning was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts with the first overall selection in the 1998 NFL draft. Manning set many NFL records that season, leading Colts to almost every passing category. The Colts traded Marshall Faulk, running back, to add another piece of the puzzle. Faulk, then 25, was selected for his third Pro Bowl in five years. The Colts lost the Super Bowl by one game, finishing the season with a record 3-13.
Rusty Tillman worked as an assistant coach on two teams during his NFL career, including the Seattle Seahawks. He was a defensive lineman and also held the position of punter, but his biggest role came on special teams. He was fired after one season because he and head coach Jim Mora weren’t on the same page. Although his success may have contributed to his firing, he was still a beloved coach in Indianapolis.
Peyton Manning’s favorite target during his four seasons with Indianapolis Colts was Austin ‘Collie Reilly. Now retired, he remains a top Colts fan and has been for the past few years. Collie was the No. 17 in blue, one of the best receivers in the NFL, and a dedicated grinder. Reilly grew up on a farm in Texas, and moved to Indianapolis after the 1998 season.
Coby Fleener, a second-year tight end, has struggled to catch it. In recent years, his hands have been a problem with the Colts. Fleener and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey are supposed to complement receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Dwayne Allen. Fleener is expected to form a lethal tight end duo with Allen and receiver Reggie Wayne.
Dwayne Allen was a former wide receiver in the NFL. He was born in Fayetteville and attended Terry Sanford High School. While in high school, Allen played quarterback for the Bulldogs and recorded 68 receptions for 1,257 yards. He was awarded the John Mackey award on December 8, 2011. That same season, Allen was part of the offensive scheme under new Colts head coach Pep Hamilton. He was injured in his hip and missed the entire season.
T.Y. T.Y. Hilton was a star for the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. He was part of an offense capable of scoring at will. In fact, the Colts finished 9-7 that year and reached the AFC title game, but lost 20-16 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the team had a future Hall of Fame running back in Marshall Faulk, it needed a new target for quarterback Andrew Luck.