Free-Agent Watch: Darrius Heyward-Bey

Indianapolis Colts Free-Agent Watch: Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey

2013 stats: 29 catches, 309 yards, 1 TD

You laughed off Heyward-Bey’s case of the drops in training camp, thinking he would turn out to be a decent No. 2 receiver opposite Reggie Wayne this season. Nope, that wasn’t the case. Heyward-Bey packed his bad hands into a large suitcase and brought them with him from Oakland.

Heyward-Bey summed up his time with the Colts when he dropped what should have been a touchdown reception along their sideline against San Diego in Week 6.

“You know how you’re capable of playing, the hard work you put in, then it doesn’t go the way you wanted it to go, that’s tough,” he said. “I never folded, I never sulked, I kept on pushing.”

The better younger receivers like LaVon Brazill, Griff Whalen and Da’Rick Rogers played, the less snaps Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft, got before he was eventually relegated to being on special teams.

Heyward-Bey embraced playing on special teams because of his desire to win, but the Colts didn’t sign him to sprint down the field and down the ball inside the 20. They signed him to catch passes from quarterback Andrew Luck. Wayne (knee) only played seven games this season, but he still finished with more receiving yards than Heyward-Bey.

“To be a grown man and try to support your family, it’s tough when you don’t play the way you’re capable of playing and also have a great opportunity to play on a great team,” Heyward-Bey said. “That was my motivation each and every day because I had never been to the playoffs.”

Does Heyward-Bey think he’ll be able to shed the label of having bad hands?

“I can’t worry about what people think about me, at the end of the day, when I’m done playing, whenever that is, I still have my life to live,” he said. “I’m not worried about those things.”

Prediction: Heyward-Bey won't be back next season.