INDIANAPOLIS — They’re both highly-touted second-round selections, but Indianapolis Colts rookies Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. have a different way of expressing themselves.
Taylor has been a bundle of enthusiasm since the running back was chosen with the 41st overall pick. He conceded that he smiled often during Monday’s first training-camp practice with shoulder pads.
Pittman has a more low-key demeanor. The wide receiver, chosen 34th overall in April, was understated about the same practice.
“It’s a lot like football,” he said. “It’s just faster and there’s a little bit more to it, but it’s pretty much the same.”
On the contrary, Taylor started smiling when he was asked about smiling.
“Yeah, I’m definitely smiling through it, especially during warmups,” he said. “It’s the beginning really before you get into the meat and thick of things. Then as practice goes on, you realize you have to have a focus. Then the smile kicks back on after the play.
“But every single play, you have to go in with a focus and a mentality in order to be able to perform at a high level. Once that play is over, you just think about how much fun you had on that last play, and then when the next play rolls around it’s time to lock back in again.”
When advised of Taylor’s exuberance, Pittman kind of shrugged.
“I have fun, too, but when it’s time to get down to business, then I’m all business,” Pittman said.
He speaks succinctly, as could be expected, considering he’s the son of an NFL running back of the same name and grew up with an understanding of how professional football players focus.
That’s not to say Taylor isn’t focused. He just sees more joy in the job as the learning curve begins in these practices at the team complex.
Both are learning from established pros — Taylor from starting running back Marlon Mack and Pittman from four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Pittman likes how Hilton goes about his business.
“I’ve seen a guy that is just straight business – gets in, gets his reps, wins, and that’s pretty much what he does,” Pittman said. “He wins, whether it’s on the football field or whether it’s shooting basketball shots. He just wins at everything. I’m basically learning from that.”
Taylor, who is expected to share snaps with Mack, equates his teammate’s demeanor to laid-back Floridians he played with at Wisconsin.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “I mean, he’s from Florida, so I had a lot of Florida guys on my team back at Wisconsin. So they are usually always funny – kind of funny, not making jokes, but they are just cool, mellow guys who love and enjoy life. So being able to connect with Marlon – asking him questions, picking his brain about the games, I mean we won’t have any preseason games but being able to get as much knowledge and information from him as far as what to expect is something I have been doing a ton of.”
(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)