By Steve Corkran
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 at 12:38 pm in Oakland Raiders.
ALAMEDA — Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was one of numerous veterans purged from the Raiders roster this offseason.
It just so happens that Heyward-Bey landed in Indianapolis, so his first game in a uniform other than the one of the team that selected him in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft will be against that team Sunday
With the Raiders, Heyward-Bey was expected to play a prominent role in the offense, in large part because they lacked a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
For the Colts, Heyward-Bey will be able to take a back seat to Reggie Wayne and carve out a niche in a well-rounded offense.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck make it clear that getting Heyward-Bey in free agency was rather fortuitous.
“He’s been outstanding from the first day he walked in the building until this morning’s walk through,” Pagano said. “He’s been unbelievable. He’s an extremely hard worker who did not miss a single day of this preseason or the offseason program.
“He’s a football junkie. He has athleticism and speed and those types of things. He’s done really well here, and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t have an outstanding season.”
Those who followed Heyward-Bey’s less-than-stellar career with the Raiders won’t be surprised by the high praise heaped upon him for his work ethic, speed and ability.
They might be taken aback by Pagano prediciting an “outstanding” season. After all, Heyward-Bey averaged 35 receptions for 518 yards and slightly less than three touchdowns for the Raiders.
Luck made it sound as if the Colts signed the next Marvin Harrison.
“A really awesome teammate,” Luck said. “Tireless worker. Very, very hard worker. It’s been very impressive. I would say he’s got all the athletic attributes. He’s a football player. He’s going to do great things for us this season. Personally I’m very happy to get a chance to play with him.”