Indianapolis Colts: 15 greatest receivers in franchise history

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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Bill Brooks, Indianapolis Colts
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46. . WR. (1986-92). Bill Brooks. 7. player

  • Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor
  • 411 career receptions w/Colts
  • 5,818 career receiving yards w/Colts
  • 28 career touchdown receptions w/Colts

Bill Brooks might have only been a fourth-round pick out of Boston University in 1986, but he is a legend in Indianapolis lore. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but he did spend his first seven professional seasons with the Colts. He was one of their better players after they first made the move to Indianapolis.

Right out of the gate, Brooks had a ridiculous rookie year with the Colts in 1986. That year saw him haul in 65 catches for 1,131 yards and eight touchdowns. Those eight touchdowns were the most in any season for Brooks with the Colts. He never eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in a season again. He did however best that receptions total in 1991 with 72.

Even if he never did become a Pro Bowler with the Colts, Brooks did become a very reliable receiver for them then in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Colts could count on him to have well over 50 receptions and 800 receiving yards in a season in his prime.

Much of this was attributed to Brooks’ ability to stay healthy during his Colts career. He only missed six games over seven seasons while playing wide receiver in Indianapolis. However, Brooks did not spend his entire NFL career with the Colts.

Brooks would leave for the Buffalo Bills in 1993, helping them reach the Super Bowl for the fourth year in a row. As the heir apparent to James Lofton in Orchard Park, Brooks certainly held his own in his three years with the Bills. He had 155 receptions for 1,959 yards and 18 touchdowns with Buffalo, which included an 11-touchdown year in 1995.

After one last professional season with the 1996 Washington Redskins, Brooks retired at the age of 32 with over 500 career catches for over 8,000 receiving yards in 11 seasons. Though still pretty good with the Bills, Brooks is best remembered for his time in Indianapolis.

So much so that Brooks became the first member of the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor in 1998. Only 14 men have been inducted into this ring of honor, with the most recent being wide receiver Reggie Wayne in 2018.

Overall, Brooks had 411 career receptions in Colts uniform, finishing with 5,818 receiving yards and 28 touchdown grabs during his time in Indianapolis. Though superior receiving talents arrived in Indianapolis in the years to follow, owner Jim Irsay made sure that Brooks would forever be remembered as a great Colt receiver.