INDIANAPOLIS – Maybe Chris Ballard helped Clayton Geathers, an independent agent, on Jan. 14, at his end-of-season press conference.
"I love everything Clayton Geathers represents," Colts general manager told reporters that day.
As a result, Ballard did not let Geathers linger too long in the free market.
The Colts announced today that they have re-signed the contract with Geathers, ensuring the team's return to safety for the 2019 season.
Geathers, 26, has been one of the Colts' best defensemen in recent seasons, but injury issues have sometimes limited his impact.
Selected in the fourth round by the Colts in the 2015 NFL Draft, Geathers played 41 games with 24 starts and compiled 180 tackles (135 solo), 3.0 tackles for defeat, nine passes defended, two forced fumbles and an escaped recovery. .
But Geathers has also missed 23 games in the last four seasons because of various injury problems. In 2016, he started a great first half of the season before suffering a neck injury during the ninth game of the year. The resulting surgery led Geathers to play only five games the following year.
Geathers then underwent a knee surgery after the 2017 season and missed all of last season's training program and most of the training camp. He returned in time for the start of the regular season, but was listed with a knee injury in the team's weekly injury report for all but four matches.
Geathers was also injured in his elbow and neck in 2018, while he also suffered a concussion in the fifth week. He overcame these difficulties to play 12 games (all started) last season, setting a record of 86 tackles (59 solo, one loss) with three defending passes, two hits and a forced fumble.
Still, Geathers continued to earn the respect and trust of Ballard and Head Coach Frank Reich.
"I watched the guy fight every week to get ready to play," Ballard said.
"He fought very hard," said Reich about Geathers on December 19th. "I can not say enough about it – even when he's playing he's just playing at a very high level – it's just something." When Clayton is there, he just gives us an emotional life. dude is a leader in every respect – just the physical appearance and tenacity – it's a great moment for us. "
This confidence on the part of the General Manager – not to mention the fact that a young Colts team in 2018 has won nine of its ten games in the stretch to earn a playoff spot for the first time in four seasons – has placed Indianapolis topped the Geathers standings as he was about to become a free agent for the first time in his career.
"Everyone is growing up, everyone is learning the game. Just getting together, that's all we've done this year and everything will be better here," Geathers told Colts. com on January 13th. "Everyone wants to be apart, including myself."
The signing of Geathers means that the Colts will have their two starting wards from 2018 in the lap of 2019.
Geathers and Malik Hooker, who played free safety, had to deal with a variety of injuries before and during the 2018 season, but both should have a clear health check this season. George Odum is also expected to return for his second season in the NFL in 2019, while Isaiah Johnson and Rolan Milligan will have the chance to compete in the 90-man training off-season.
Matthias Farley, a contracted autonomous agent presented by the Colts on March 11, is another key player who could return in 2019. However, Farley has not yet signed his bid.