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."

If it works out, overseas scouting could become a league-wide rage. If not, the Colts haven't lost a thing.

Either way, Adongo figures it's a risk worth taking.

"Defensively, where I'm going to be playing as an outside linebacker a lot of things correlate, a lot of tackling, a lot of aggression, a lot of physicality," he said. "Coming into this league as a pass-rusher, I think that's my job. My main focus is making sure I'm good at what I do and good at what I do in the system."

Notes: Two-time Pro Bowl safety Antoine Bethea missed Tuesday morning's practice so he could be around for the birth of his daughter. .. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who is on the physically unable to perform list, said he hopes to be ready to go in two to three weeks.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington - LP: D. Fister 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 8
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1
Boston - LP: T. Layne 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 5
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 8 FINAL
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: Z. Wheeler 2
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 7
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: H. Noesi 3
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 6
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 5 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 4
Milwaukee - LP: Z. Duke 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: D. Thayer 3
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 3 FINAL
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 1
Miami - LP: H. Alvarez 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 6
Colorado - LP: J. Nicasio 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 4
Atlanta 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
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 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close