INDIANAPOLIS – Fort Wayne native Trai Essex had some ups and downs during his first game with the Indianapolis Colts, but said the win overshadows everything else.
“I was a little rusty and had to shake off the cobwebs,” Essex said. “I hadn't played guard since last year. I played tackle all through camp with Pittsburgh. It took some getting used to, but it was like riding a bicycle again. I've got to work on a few things, but all-in-all I think I did OK.”
Essex came into the game late in the first half of the Colts' 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts center Samson Satele suffered a knee injury and right guard Mike McGlynn moved to center. Essex moved in at right guard.
The line had some issues at times, including four punts in the second half, but did what it had to do on the final drive that set up Adam Vinatieri's 53-yard game-winning field goal with eight seconds left.
“Kudos to Andrew (Luck) and the rest of young guys on the offense for stepping up,” Essex said. “That's a big situation, and huge for this team considering how young we are, to come in and make big plays in a clutch situation and get in field-goal range for Vinatieri, who's done it a million times.”
Essex, who signed with the Colts last week after seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, said he is most comfortable at right guard. He started 16 games there for the Steelers in 2009. He had one holding call against him on Sunday, but believes it shouldn't take long to get in the swing of the line with the Colts.
It's uncertain the seriousness of Satele's injury, and whether McGlynn will have to remain at center for next week's home game against Jacksonville.
“Right guard is the position I've played the most in the NFL,” Essex said. “It takes a little getting used to. Guard is a little bit different than tackle. Guys are bigger and they get on you faster. Thank God I get to work with a win in the rearview mirror. (Monday) I can come in and get what I need to do technique-wise, weight room and cardio, and I'll be OK.”