Colts Notebook: Hilton channels MJ for debut in 2021 | Sports
INDIANAPOLIS – TY Hilton gave a moving speech to his Indianapolis Colts teammates on Saturday, on the eve of his 2021 debut. Then, the veteran wide receiver showed up at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday wearing a vintage Michael Jordan No.45 jersey from the The former Chicago Bulls star returned to action in 1995.
Jordan had been gone two years after retiring in 1993 and moonlighting as a minor league in the Chicago White Sox organization. Hilton was only gone five weeks, but he admitted earlier this week that he was considering quitting after sustaining a neck injury that briefly left him without sensation on the left side of his body.
He was the last player to walk out of the tunnel during pre-match presentations and received an enthusiastic reception from 57,947 fans.
âI came back today, like Jordan when he came back with the 45,â Hilton said. “It’s not to play games with you.”
The Houston Texans (1-5) quickly learned this in a 31-3 loss. Hilton had four catches, a team-high, for 80 yards, including a 52-yard bomb in the second quarter that set up a field goal.
It also provided an emotional boost during a short week as the Colts (2-4) tried to put a crushing 31-25 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the rearview mirror.
“It was great,” running back Jonathan Taylor said of the energy the 31-year-old brought to training this week. “And a lot of people were thinking, ‘Hey, we don’t know when TY is coming back, but when he does, we’ll be ready.’ It was the perfect game for him to come back. I heard last year that he still goes crazy against the Texans. And so far, that’s true.
Hilton was the target of Indianapolis’ first offensive play, and quarterback Carson Wentz said he never considered looking elsewhere on 12 yards.
But it’s the big hunk that will play a quarter later that will probably stay with Wentz the longest.
“If they give us the right look, and you can tell they were a little softer than we expected, with its speed on these safeties, you just have to throw it in one spot and leave it run underneath, âWentz said. âIt was cool to see him. I’ve seen it on tape for a long time, but to finally come out here today and do it live, that was pretty cool.
Hilton had much the same reaction to his first game in nine months.
He left the game at the end of the fourth quarter with what was billed as a quad injury, but later said there was nothing to worry about.
Above all, he tried to savor his long-awaited return. He soaked up the cheers as he exited the tunnel and ran towards the end zone waving his arms to encourage even more noise.
Then he did what he’s always done, slicing through Houston’s defense and setting the tone for a rebound victory.
âIt was fun, man,â Hilton said. âThe crowd brought the energy. A little emotion coming out of the tunnel – just hearing these fans, man, is worth it. Being in the locker room with this team, this group of guys, it’s amazing. Just the energy, the juice that I bring to them, you saw it today. They just feed off my energy. Just being there brings so (a lot) of smiles, brings so much enthusiasm to this team. I mean so much to them. So I’m glad I did.
THEY SAID IT
“It was cool to see Giovanni very briefly before the game. I know everyone here took great care of him, but he’s a special kid, and it’s kids like him who really remind me of the sight of him. ‘set of role models that we can be and the impact that we can have as athletes. It was quite special to see him on the sidelines. I know he had a great time yesterday and today, and I hope he enjoyed this one. – Wentz on 13-year-old fan Giovanni Hamilton, who attended Sunday’s game as a guest of the quarterback. Hamilton, who suffers from Schwartz-Jampel syndrome and lives in Pennsylvania, received an autographed soccer ball and punch from Wentz before the game.
Four players left the game with injuries. Wide receiver Parris Campbell (foot), cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) and safety Jordan Lucas (knee) joined Hilton on the sidelines.