Naptown’s Finest Countdown To Kickoff series continues with eleven days remaining until Week 1, and today we examine wide receiver Donnie Avery, who spent the 2012 season with the Indianapolis Colts before signing with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason.
Avery was one of a couple dozen new faces to arrive in Indy after the Colts’ well-documented roster purge following the release of Peyton Manning in March 2012.
The University of Houston product was the first wide receiver to go in the 2008 draft, selected in the second round, 33rd overall by the St. Louis Rams. He caught 100 passes in his first two seasons with the Rams before injuries derailed his tenure with the team.
Having not played a single down in 2010, Avery was released by the Rams in the 2011 preseason and signed with the Tennessee Titans. He played in 8 games that season but only caught three passes, all in the season finale.
Looking for a third receiver behind Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie, the Colts signed Avery to a one-year deal on March 23. Avery was expected to help ease the burden on rookie Andrew Luck, and he did so by recording both Luck’s first career completion and touchdown pass in his debut.
Avery’s finest moment of 2011 came in Week 13 against the Detroit Lions. Down 33-28 with four seconds remaining and in possession at the Lions’ 14-yard-line, the Colts were down to one last shot. Scrambling to avoid pressure, Luck completed a short pass on the right to Avery, who raced into the end zone untouched with no time left. Colts win, 35-33.
#11 Honorable Mention
Anthony Gonzalez (2007-2011): Drafted by the Colts with the last pick in the first round in 2007 following their victory in Super Bowl XLI, the All-Big Ten Ohio State wideout was groomed to be the team’s slot receiver. He had a solid rookie year and a breakout season in 2008, but injuries caused his career to quickly spiral out of control.
Gonzalez missed virtually the entire 2009 season, injuring his knee in the first quarter of Week 1, and saw action only twice in 2010. With his role diminished, he became a free agent the following offseason.
A misguided comeback attempt with the New England Patriots fell short for Gonzalez in 2012, marking the end of his career. Having now moved on from football, Gonzalez is currently enrolled in the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Countdown To Kickoff Archive
Aug 21: Peyton Manning
Aug 22: Austin Collie
Aug 23: Ryan Leaf
Aug 24: LaVon Brazill
Aug 26: T.Y. Hilton
Aug 27: Andrew Luck
Aug 28: Donnie Avery
Aug 31: Matt Hasselbeck
Sept 1: Curtis Painter
Sept 2: Dan Orlovsky
Sept 3: Kerry Collins
Sept 4: Adam Vinatieri
Sept 5: Matt Stover
Sept 7: Pat McAfee