The NFL preseason is complete and all teams have made their final cuts. With exactly one week left until Week 1, former Colts quarterback, No. 7 Curtis Painter, is today’s honoree in Naptown’s Finest Countdown To Kickoff series.
Drafted out of Purdue by his hometown team in the sixth round of the 2009 draft, Painter was viewed as no more than a practice squad player with Jim Sorgi already Peyton Manning’s primary backup. Manning had never missed a start in 13 seasons, so with the Colts taking his health for granted, Painter was unlikely to see any action.
But when a neck injury finally forced Manning out for the start of the 2011 season, the Colts had very little choice. They signed Kerry Collins out of retirement to start the 2011 season, but when he also went down with a concussion in Week 3, Curtis Painter saw his first meaningful action.
It wasn’t pretty–to put it mildly. In eight starts he was 132-243 for 1,541 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions. Furthermore, he did not win a single game as the Colts plummeted into last place, sitting in the driver’s seat for the top pick in 2012.
Painter was finally benched in favor of third-stringer Dan Orlovsky in Week 13. When Jim Irsay decided to clean the house after finishing 2-14, Painter was widely expected to be cut.
To no suprise, he was one of at least a dozen players released in the Colts’ well-documented roster purge following Manning’s departure.
The Colts started over with Andrew Luck, the No. 1 pick in 2012, and after an inspiring rookie season, the Colts have their new quarterback of the future.
Colts fans should be thankful; if it wasn’t for Curtis Painter, Andrew Luck would’ve never come around, and an aging Manning would likely still be in Indy. Not to mention, the Colts likely would’ve still had some no-name reserve incapable of running the offense instead of Matt Hasselbeck now.
In a sense, Curtis Painter is the reason why the Colts are where they are now. And it’s because of that that he–not Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck–is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to the Colts.
#7 Honorable Mention
Brock Huard (2002-2003): In what has lately become a theme in Countdown To Kickoff, Brock Huard was another backup quarterback who played sparingly behind Manning. He only saw action twice in a Colts uniform–both in 2003–throwing 2-3 for 22 yards.
Huard signed as a backup with the Seattle Seahawks in 2004 but spent the entire season on injured reserve, ultimately ending his career.
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