African rugby player still getting accustomed to putting on pads, helmet as Colts' camp opens

  • Article by: MICHAEL MAROT , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 30, 2013 - 4:27 PM

ANDERSON, Ind. — Daniel Adongo has never played a down of American football, has watched only a few games on television and he tends to fidget with his helmet.

Somehow, the Indianapolis Colts found this muscle-bound 6-foot-5, 257-pound athlete on the rugby fields of Africa and decided to give him a shot at making an NFL roster.

"Just take your steps and be patient," Adongo said. "The biggest thing is to be patient with myself and allow myself to have a good learning curve and build myself up."

Three are plenty of things the 23-year-old Kenyan must figure out now that he's working out with his new teammates at training camp.

He's still learning how to get around town and around campus.

He's still getting used to the sensation of a helmet and pads.

And, of course, he's still learning what he's supposed to do.

Teammates are convinced Adongo will be a quick learner, though those who have made the transition from overseas star to American contributor know it won't be easy.

"I was thinking back to when I came over for the first time to play high school football, and that was a big thing," said Indy's most recent first-round draft pick Bjoern Werner, who grew up in Germany. "Now he's coming over, he's here for two days and now he's going to experience an NFL camp right away. That's going to be tough, but he has teammates so hopefully everybody can help him out."

There is little doubt Adongo can run and hit.

But the Colts are still trying to figure out where he fits best and how long, or successful, the conversion might take. Adongo believes the move to linebacker is the most logical place to start given the combination of size, speed and aggression required to excel in rugby. If that doesn't work out, maybe he'll get a chance at defensive end or tight end or fullback.

"We watched him throw a football for the first time and in about a nanosecond we said 'You know he's not a quarterback,'" general manager Ryan Grigson said. "But once you start seeing him move around with those long limbs and you see the type of competitor and really the traits he has as a human being and as an athlete, you have something to work with. You basically have a lump of clay for these coaches to work with."

Adongo began his career playing for the Kenya Harlequins junior team. Eventually, he wound up on his native country's U-18 and U-19 rugby squads. In 2006, scouts from the University of South Africa spotted him during a Safari Sevens tournament. A year later, he was attending the largest university on the African continent.

Then it was off to the Sharks Academy, and last year he competed in the Varsity Cup for the University of Pretoria. This year, he was playing for the Southern Kings of Super 15 Rugby when the Colts started sending him emails and invited him to make the 17-hour flight for a workout.

Adongo said he couldn't refuse.

"It's just a gut feeling that I had. I followed my gut," he said.

How did the Colts find this guy?

"We, kind of under wraps, last fall started talking about it," Grigson said. "A pro scout of ours, Jon Shaw, was kind of delegated the duty of like, 'Hey, this is your baby. Let's see what you can do with it, see if you can give me a cluster of guys that are worthwhile, the right age group, have the right traits, the right makeup to actually even be able to even make the transition since it is a major one.' But you know, when you look at the (camp) rosters going from 80 to 90, we'd much rather, as a staff, give the coaches something to work with than just a true camp body who we know is going to be cut in a week or two and is not going to help us get where we want to go."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 17 3rd Qtr 12:45
Miami 7
Baltimore 0 3rd Qtr
Houston 16
Detroit 7 3rd Qtr 11:50
Chicago 7
Cleveland 3 3rd Qtr 11:35
Carolina 10
Atlanta 13 3rd Qtr 11:35
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 10 3rd Qtr 8:08
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 6 3rd Qtr 9:37
Pittsburgh 10
New England 7 3rd Qtr 6:39
NY Jets 13
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 53 2nd Half 5:20
Army 52
Ferris State 71 2nd Half 4:06
Bowling Green 58
San Francisco 57 2nd Half 3:42
Cleveland State 59
Oregon State 52 2nd Half 0:08
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 45 2nd Half 11:53
Central Arkansas 35
Holy Cross 18 2nd Half
Canisius 24
Southern Miss 29 2nd Half
Georgia State 38
Western Carolina 28 1st Half 2:21
UNC-Asheville 32
Creighton 18 2nd Half
North Texas 35
Maryland 32 2nd Half
Oklahoma State 27
Cornell 35 1st Half 1:26
Radford 32
Vermont 24 2nd Half
Saint Louis 25
Loyola-Maryland 26 2nd Half
Stony Brook 26
Reinhardt 26 1st Half 3:19
Winthrop 39
Ark-Little Rock 29 2nd Half
Green Bay 33
TX-Pan American 32 1st Half 1:44
Nebraska Omaha 37
Alabama State 41 1st Half 1:49
Evansville 42
FIU 18 1st Half 9:12
Hartford 23
Goshen 6 1st Half 11:18
Valparaiso 23
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Fairleigh Dickinson 66 1st OT 5:00
Brown 66
Buffalo 62 2nd Half 3:35
Long Island 73
Bucknell 72 2nd Half 0:28
Mount St Marys 46
Stony Brook 70 2nd Half 0:20
Wagner 76
FIU 79 2nd Half 0:28
Wofford 73
Duquesne 43 2nd Half 3:57
Providence 55
Maine 54 2nd Half 0:02
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 38 2nd Half 2:46
Samford 49
TX-Pan American 38 2nd Half 1:31
VA Commonwealth 62
Radford 54 2nd Half 1:58
Virginia Tech 66
(3) Texas 34 2nd Half 16:02
(4) Texas A&M 45
Rhode Island 45 2nd Half 11:11
Bryant 38
South Florida 25 1st Half 5:07
Penn State 22
Sam Houston St 25 2nd Half
TCU 40
Evansville 19 1st Half 0:37
IUPUI 28
(14) Maryland 59 2nd Half
Coppin State 25
Mercer 30 2nd Half
Coll of Charleston 34
NC A&T 12 1st Half 4:12
Chattanooga 25
Princeton 46 2nd Half
Monmouth 22
Eastern Illinois 37 2nd Half
Lehigh 41
Rider 31 2nd Half
Binghamton 30
SC State 16 2nd Half
Clemson 29
Fairfield 29 1st Half 0:58
Iowa State 36
Richmond 42 2nd Half
Eastern Kentucky 26
Cleveland State 42 2nd Half
Morehead St 34
Kent State 31 2nd Half
Colgate 25
South Alabama 9 2nd Half
UAB 46
Saint Peters 16 2nd Half
Navy 39
Youngstown St 21 2nd Half
Pittsburgh 38
NJIT 25 1st Half 2:21
Lafayette 27
Davidson 10 1st Half 1:41
Charlotte 39
Indiana State 9 1st Half 15:23
St Johns 6
Southern U 7 1st Half 14:25
Florida 8
Wright State 6 1st Half 12:06
Purdue 12
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday against Miami?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close