NASHVILLE – For Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle, it was good to be back on the field Sunday at Nissan Stadium when the Colts played the Tennessee Titans.
The former Western Kentucky standout originally signed with the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He was one of Tennessee’s final cuts and claimed off waivers by the Colts, so every return to Nashville doesn’t just get him close to his WKU roots, it also gives him a chance to come back to where his NFL career started.
“It’s always so fun to come back here – being so close to Western and obviously starting my career here,” Doyle said. “There are still guys on that defense – very few, but there is a couple of guys still there. And then you see some old coaches. It is just fun. It’s part of the journey.”
Doyle had two catches for 21 yards in the Colts’ 19-17 win, but the real victory was being back on the field after an injury-plagued 2018 that prematurely ended his season. Doyle played six games last season, then was placed on injured reserve in November after suffering a kidney injury. The injury-plagued season, which also included missing five games with a hip injury, was especially tough after having a Pro Bowl season in 2017.
“It’s extremely hard,” Doyle said. “It was a low time in my life, but it gives me motivation to get back out there. I’m back out here playing with these tight ends, these great players, so it’s a lot of fun to be back.”
“I am having more fun out there, I really am. I decided to just enjoy it really, maybe take some of the stress off myself and my mind and just have fun. It’s making the game a lot more fun for me – especially when we get wins.”
Doyle is back on the field to form one of the NFL’s top tight end combos, along with Eric Ebron – who had 13 touchdown receptions last season and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Colts.
“The great thing about me and Eric is, some of my weaknesses are his strengths and some of his weaknesses are my strengths,” Doyle said. “We are a great combination in that sense and he’s a fun personality to be around. And then (fellow tight end Mo Alie-Cox) keeps us all even keel with his even keel manner. It’s a really fun room. It’s the best tight end room in the NFL.”
There has been some changes to the Colts’ offense this season, the most significant the unexpected retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck late in the preseason. That pushed backup Jacoby Brissett, who started most of 2017 when Luck missed the season due to injury, in charge of the offense. In two games this season Brissett has five touchdown passes, including three TD passes in Sunday’s win.
“We’ve been working with Jacoby all offseason and a lot of us played with Jacoby back in 2017 and knew what kind of competitor he was and how tough of a guy he is and what a great leader he is,” Doyle said. “I am super happy for him as a man. He’s a great person and a great player. It’s great to be out there with him.”
And Doyle said he thinks Brissett will continue to excel, with the Colts looking to contend for the AFC South title and get back to the playoffs.
“Obviously, Andrew was a great player, a huge part of this team, but we have a lot of good players on this team,” Doyle said. “Like I said, Jacoby has done a great job stepping in. We play complimentary football in some ways and when we do that we win games. You take it one week at a time and we’ll try to get ready for Atlanta after we celebrate this one a little bit and have a fun opener.”