The Colts drafted two players from Stanford last year. We hear a lot about Andrew Luck, but how's tight end Coby Fleener doing? Last season he put up admirable numbers: 26 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns. Expectations are high for the second-round pick, who was hampered with an injury for most of the preseason but is expected to be ready to go this Sunday. When did Coby meet Andrew for the first time - and what is an electronic cleanse? Read on.
NUVO: Are the players as excited about the NFL season starting as everyone else is?
Coby Fleener: Yeah, I think whether it's the start of a new school year or the NFL season, it's the same kind of feeling. You enjoy your time off, but once the season comes around again, you start to get those feelings of excitement.
NUVO: When did you first know you could play in the NFL?
Fleener: Midway through college, I would say.
NUVO: What are the main differences between the college and NFL game?
Fleener: A lot of people say the speed of the game, but I don't necessarily agree. I think it's that players are a lot more savvy. They understand the small nuances of the game that get overlooked by younger players. Part of it is you don't really beat anybody badly in this league. If you are a foot away from someone, you're open. Whereas in college, you can get away with 10 feet of separation, now you have to catch the ball with someone on you at all times.
NUVO: Why do so many college stars have a tough time making it in the NFL?
Fleener: It's a totally different atmosphere, and it's definitely a work environment. Players go home to their wife and kids as opposed to going back to the dorm room with their buddies.
NUVO: Can you remember the first time you met Andrew Luck?
Fleener: The first time I met Andrew Luck was at Stanford. I was actually his host on his visit to the school. Who could have predicted how closely we would be tied? To think back, it's kind of funny showing him Stanford, and now he's my quarterback in the NFL.
NUVO: How sore are you the night after a game?
Fleener: It varies from game to game. Sometimes you get back and you just want go lay in your bed for days on end - and sometimes you go back, and you are ready to go that night or the next day. Anytime you get out of a game feeling good, you are thankful for it.
NUVO: What is the coolest part about being an NFL player?
Fleener: I think what's cool is being able to interact with the fans, and how the simple gestures of signing an autograph or saying 'Hello' can brighten up someones day. I especially like talking to little kids that come to practice, during camp - or during a game, when you can talk to them when they're in the first row. It's really cool to see them light up.
NUVO: Do you prefer playing with the roof opened or closed at Lucas Oil Stadium?
Fleener: Night game or day game? Sometimes it's tough. The ball is going in and out of the shadows, but then sometimes the lights can be in your eyes. There are so many variables. I would just say, whatever the fans want.
NUVO: Last concert you attended?
Fleener: The Band Perry and Rascal Flatts at Klipsch Music Center.
NUVO: Who is your favorite athlete of all time?
Fleener: Michael Jordan would be a tough one to go against. I was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. Walter Payton is up there too.
NUVO: If you weren't a pro football player, what would you be doing?
Fleener: That's a very good question. I wish I knew for after the NFL, but I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. (Laughs) Sometimes I enjoy writing. I have a blog: CobyFleener.com.
NUVO: Could you go a month without your phone and other electronic devices?
Fleener: I would love to go without for a month, but I would also say I'm addicted. (Laughs) I know that I am, so I think a month would be good for an electronic cleanse.