Colts rookie WR Josh Downs explains how he’s leaning on his father’s NFL experience

Sep 24, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Josh Downs
Sep 24, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Josh Downs / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

As Josh Downs prepares for the start of his NFL career, he’s turning to his father Gary Downs, a former NFL player, for advice on the league.

Josh Downs, the 2023 third-round round wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts, is from a football family. His father, Gary Downs, was a running back in the NFL from 1994 to 2000. Josh’s uncle, Dre Bly, played at North Carolina like Josh, and spent 11 years in the league as a cornerback. Bly is now the cornerbacks coach for the Detroit Lions and Gary Downs is the running backs coach at East Tennessee State University. Additionally, Josh’s younger brother, Caleb, is a promising freshman safety at Alabama.

With football all around him, Josh Downs is learning from his relatives as it’s now his time to thrive in the NFL. In a recent Father’s Day piece for ESPN, Josh detailed how he’s been leaning on his father all his life as he works to become a better receiver.

A common saying in sports is the eye in the sky don’t lie. For Josh, that eye in the sky has been his father Gary. Speaking with ESPN’s Stephen Holder, Josh explained how even though his father hasn’t been his actual coach since seventh grade, he’s always going to him fro advice. Josh told Holder, “There's been times when I've called my dad at halftime during a game to ask, 'What do you see?'”

Knowing that the elder Downs will see the field different from the stands, these phone calls usually help Josh make the necessary adjustments to dominate in the second half.

Gary Downs is helping Josh Downs prepare for the NFL

Josh Downs also explained that this knowledge from his father extends beyond the football field. Playing over half a decade in the NFL, Gary Downs understands the pitfalls that can come with being a professional athlete. Josh explained that his father has taught him how to be smart with money and also “to keep the main thing, the main thing.”

Now that Downs is with the Colts, not only will he be getting advice from his father, but his position coach is future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne. It has been widely reported how much of a fan Wayne is of Downs, arguing that he’s the best wide receiver in the 2023 Draft. With the help of Wayne, Gary Downs, and all of the other football minds around Josh Downs, he’ll be striving to show that he is an elite receiver.