Why Shane Steichen didn’t play starters; Josh Downs, James Washington stand out vs. Bears


The Colts brought in wide player James Washington for a Friday morning tryout, signed him on Friday afternoon, and then threw him into the fire on Saturday — and knocked him out with a 42-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

In fact, Washington’s first interaction with quarterback Sam Ehlinger, after quickly throwing the ball to the sidelines, was when he returned to the huddle after that play and Ellinger told him, “(Good stuff)”.

“It’s thanks to his intelligence, his work ethic, and who he is as a person,” Ellinger said. “He knew — we were talking today on tour this morning and we were talking about plays and he was on top of it, and he signed yesterday. So, it was impressive how quickly he picked up and gave us some plays.”

Washington was up all Friday night studying the Colts’ call sheet, crediting wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne and quality control/wide receivers Brian Bratton with getting him up to speed.

“It’s been a crazy few days, but I’m so grateful for that,” Washington said.

Washington means it when he says he’s grateful. The 2018 second-round player had to navigate a difficult road to get back on the NFL field after breaking his foot last year with the Dallas Cowboys — an injury that required two surgeries. He said he didn’t feel well until June of this year.

In addition to the physical strain of rehabilitating an injury, Washington discussed the mental toll of feeling like “nobody wanted you” when he was just hoping for an opportunity like the one he now has with the Colts.

“It’s been a ride,” Washington said emotionally, “I’m not going to lie.” “It was hard. But I’m so grateful for that.”