Just over a month ago, former Utah safety Julian Blackmon was the talk on the Indianapolis Colts training camp — and it wasn't because of his work on the football field.
During their annual 'rookie hazing' at training camp, Blackmon was tasked with performing a song during a team meeting. He chose to show off his rendition of Michael Jackson's "PYT" — a song from Jackson's iconic "Thriller" album released in 1982.
Apparently the song was such a hit with teammates (who put it out on social media) and fans, that people were commenting all over Twitter, asking for the full version.
Now Blackmon is once again the talk of the Indianapolis locker room, but this time it's because of his play on the field.
Blackmon played in his first NFL game this past Sunday in Indianapolis' 28-11 victory over the Minnesota Vikings — and shined in the process. He finished the game with multiple tackles and two pass break-ups, including one that was intercepted by teammate Khari Willis in the second quarter.
“He was all around the ball, all around the ball. I mean just from my eye watching the game, he played great,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said after Sunday’s game. “He made the one play on the Cover 2 down the middle – that looked like it’s going to be a big play for their offense, and he breaks it up, gets his head and hat on the ball. Those are the instincts that we saw on film. We know that that’s the player that he’s going to be.”
Blackmon is coming off a torn ACL suffered nine and a half months ago in the Pac-12 championship game against Oregon. Following surgery, and news that he would miss all of the NFL combine due to recovery, Blackmon was still selected by the Colts in the third round.
“I didn’t want to lose him behind us. We thought there was a chance he would be there in the third. We were worried that he wouldn’t be there in the fourth,” Colts GM Chris Ballard said after Day 2 of the draft. “He’s got the ACL injury, we know that he won’t be ready probably until late August, early September which means that he might not even really help us until October.”
It's not October yet and Blackmon is already contributing on the field, more than returning the favor the Colts did by selecting him so high. Only time will tell how he continued to improve — but if his first game and subsequent singing performances are any indication, Blackmon isn't afraid of the spotlight and ready for when his time his called again.
"What's nice is I always have tried to mentally prepare. So once I finally got on the field it was easy because I didn't sit back and pretend like I wasn't a part of the team," Blackmon said. "I also have a responsibility and my responsibility off the field was to make sure I knew what I was doing so when I got my name called, I'd be ready."
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