Whalen takes advantage of his opportunity

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
3:00
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts receiver Griff Whalen had just returned a punt 51 yards when a Houston reporter sitting a row in front of me asked, “Who is this guy?”

That reporter probably wasn’t the only person wondering who Whalen is. He’s spent most of the season on the practice squad, and it took a foot injury to LaVon Brazill for Whalen to be elevated from the practice squad on Saturday for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

Whalen took advantage of the opportunity by finishing with four catches for 45 yards and a 14-yard touchdown reception from his former teammate at Stanford, quarterback Andrew Luck, in their victory over the Texans. He also returned three punts for 67 yards and one kickoff for 22 yards.

“It was great to get out there again,” Whalen said. “The coaches just told me basically to have fun out there, do what I know how to do, and that’s what I tried to do.”

Sunday was just the fifth time this season that Whalen was on the active roster. The likelihood of his being active against the Texans increased each day Brazill sat out of practice with a boot on his right foot last week. Whalen missed his entire rookie season with a foot injury.

“It’s a testament to his work ethic and the character that he has,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “I talked about it to the team in there because Griff’s been active, been cut, been put back on the practice squad two and three times. Certainly Griff’s not one of those guys that would go in the tank, so to speak. He’s a grinder. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s got something to prove.”

With steady play at receiver hard to come by these days, there’s a good chance that Whalen will remain on the active roster for the rest of the season.

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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