Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez knew he had to give it his all in Week 12.
When the Indianapolis Colts took the field in Week 12 against the division-rival Titans, something was different about their special teams unit, though the resilient Rigoberto Sanchez refused to let anybody on the outside know it.
Despite being diagnosed with a cancerous tumor the week prior, Sanchez took the field against Tennessee in a game in which the Colts were already missing a veritable fleet of impact players, from DeForest Buckner to Jonathan Taylor, due to COVID protocols, injuries and pre-2020-style bad luck.
He punted five times, averaging over 50 yards. He held for Rodrigo Blankenship’s kicks, just like he was supposed to. He attempted an onside kick. And the next day, Sanchez announced he’d be undergoing surgery to remove the tumor.
On the verge of returning to practice, the punter opened up about why he played at all, and what it felt like to battle through such a tragedy in semi-secret.
With so many other missing pieces, and with no apparent alternative, Sanchez decided the best course of action would be to simply press on, then reveal the dire circumstances afterwards. That’s…just insane, and yet all seems to have gone smoothly.
An incredible teammate all around.
Though Frank Reich has been adamant all along that Sanchez would return before the season concluded, we had our doubts — after all, he’d gone through plenty, and we’d forgive him if he’d simply acquiesced to veteran lefty punter Ryan Allen.
However, if we’d heard these Sanchez quotes first, we would’ve known he’d fight back, and do it quickly. The punter was already back at practice on Wednesday, and there’s an outright chance he’ll participate on Sunday.
Just 16 days post-surgery.
Every Rigoberto Sanchez story is more amazing than the last, and from the top to the bottom of this roster, we can’t find a single Colt without the requisite fight to reach a Super Bowl.
Sanchez, it seems, might just have the most “dog” in him of anyone.