DeForest Buckner’s comments on missing Titans game define his value to Colts

DeForest Buckner #99 of the Indianapolis Colts jogs off the field before a game.(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
DeForest Buckner #99 of the Indianapolis Colts jogs off the field before a game.(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Colts fans will love DeForest Buckner’s comments about missing the Titans game due to COVID-19.

It certainly wasn’t a flawless effort, but the Indianapolis Colts ultimately got the job done against the Houston Texans this past Sunday despite giving quarterback Deshaun Watson a perfect opportunity to pull off an upset on the final possession.

In doing so — and with a little help from Cleveland — they jumped back to a tie atop the AFC South standings, gaining the ground they lost after their humbling defeat to Tennessee two weeks ago, which we still have a sour taste about considering how many key players the Colts were missing due to injury and COVID-19 protocols.

Fans will remember that defensive tackle DeForest Buckner was one of those absent from that game, and we’re honestly not sure if he proved his overall value to Indianapolis more with his return to the gridiron in Week 13 or his comments about having to miss the Titans showdown even though he was asymptomatic.

That passion and drive is contagious and it’s really no wonder that the Colts looked like a totally different team on defense with Buckner sidelined. There are obviously a number of other worthy candidates, but the sheer gap in the group’s effectiveness with him on the field compared to when he’s entirely unavailable or catching his breath on the sidelines should see him receive votes for the Defensive Player of the Year award.

The crazy part? That quote wasn’t even the best of Buckner’s comments. To avoid any spoilers, let’s just say that he was so emotional while watching the game in his home that his family almost forced him to report back to the team.

Buckner channeled that anger and rode it to a sensational performance vs Houston, as he compiled four tackles (two for loss) and three QB hits, bringing his total to 19 on the season, which ranks fifth in the NFL, this past week.

If these quotes don’t prove that GM Chris Ballard made the right decision to give up a first-round pick for Buckner and subsequently sign him to a four-year, $84 million extension last offseason, then nothing will. In the simplest of terms, he means everything to the Colts.