INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts finally made a splashy signing Monday night.
It should make Andrew Luck happy, too.
After adding only one player in the first five days of free agency, the Colts agreed to a deal with former Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron. Contract terms were not immediately available.
"I fell in love with the coaching staff. I fell in love with the GM, I fell in love with the staff and that’s kind of what pushed the envelope for me to want to be here," Ebron told local reporters on a conference call. "I really felt a lot of love and was shown a lot of support for my game, my family, the things I wanted to accomplish and at the end of the day, my goals."
It’s a chance for Ebron to start over.
The Lions drafted the highest-rated tight end in 2014 in the first round but Ebron never quite lived up to the hype.
In four seasons, he had 186 receptions, 2,070 yards and 11 TDs in 56 career games. He didn’t appear in all 16 games until last season when he caught 53 passes for 574 yards and four touchdowns.
Even worse, he developed a reputation for dropping passes — a problem Ebron said stemmed from a lack of mental focus and a problem he plans to fix next season.
Ultimately, that was enough for Detroit to cut ties with Ebron last week.
The Colts, however, thought enough of Ebron’s potential to give him another shot. He is expected to be paired with Jack Doyle, who made his first Pro Bowl last season, and Erik Swoope, a former college basketball player who had moved to No. 2 on the Colts’ depth chart.
"It’s a fresh start, it’s a whole new ordeal, it’s a whole new world really that you’re stepping into," Ebron said. "It’s definitely something to look forward to. Obviously, you get to play the game that you love for another season. You just have to enjoy it."
Ebron joins Denico Autry, a backup defensive lineman with the Raiders last season, as Indy’s only free-agent additions so far.
It’s not likely to be the last move made by general manager Chris Ballard, who has long espoused he prefers to draft and develop players rather than overspending in free agency.
Autry and Ebron both appear to fit the blueprint.
But Ballard did make a lot of noise Saturday with a trade that sent the No. 3 overall pick in next month’s draft to the New York Jets, who will presumably take a quarterback. In exchange the Colts got the No. 6 overall pick, two second-round picks this year and the Jets’ second-round pick in 2019.
The move gives Indy four picks in the top 50 this year and three picks in the first two rounds next year — all of which made Indianapolis an even better choice in Ebron’s mind.
"Growing up, I’ve never really been a fan of things that are already great because then what’s the point of really joining it?" Ebron said. "I’ve always been a fan of trying to make something better, and I feel like I can do that with my talent and my abilities here. I feel like with Andrew Luck coming back and playing along with Jack, I feel like we can create something that most teams would want."