Colts safety Matthias Farley devotes bye week to fans, community

Colts safety Matthias Farley poses for a photo with a fan during the team's fan appreciation event at Circle Center Mall on Tuesday.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — While many Colts headed out of town during the bye week, safety Matthias Farley spent his time signing autographs and snapping photos with fans during the team’s fan appreciation event at Circle Center Mall.

“I committed to this, if you give somebody your word you keep it, and I wouldn’t have missed this regardless. I’m excited to be here and it’s an awesome turnout so far, nice little line,” Farley said.

Those loyal fans who show up decked out in blue and white, most with armfuls of items for Farley and the Colts cheerleaders to autograph, serve as sound reminders of the impact the players have on the community.

“I think it just puts everything in perspective for me every week and I think a lot of guys would echo that, we’ll go to the hospitals and we’ll go here and we’ll go there and we may not win the game but there are a lot of people dealing with a lot of serious things, so it’s like a reality check week in and week out,” Farley said. “We have a responsibility and we have a platform, and I think it’s important that we go in the community and do those things.”

For the fans, this gives them the opportunity to connect with players firsthand and show their unwavering support.

“It let’s you get that personal connection,” longtime Colts fan Carol Thiele said. “We go to everything we can. I’m retired now so we’ve even taken the bus and walked a mile to some of these things because we just love the Colts. I’ve been a Colts fan since back in the Unitas days.”

“I’m always a Colts fan. I work at Shapiro’s downtown and when we have the games we have a lot of people coming in, and yeah, I’ll still support them no matter what,” Norma Griffo said.

Putting smiles on the faces of fans of all ages prompts Farley to draw on his own experiences as a young football fan in growing up in North Carolina.

“I remember when I was in second grade, a couple Panthers players came and they just gave me a high five and I thought, ‘I am never washing my hand ever again,’ so now it’s crazy to be on this side and like I said, really, really important to be a positive influence, especially on little kids,” Farley explained.

Witnessing this loyalty of the horseshoe faithful throughout a struggling season provides some much needed encouragement for the last stretch of the season.

“We have great fans, stadium’s full regardless. It’s really an awesome city to be a part of and I think when you’re involved and you meet people, it makes you play that much harder.”

Although Farley may still be working to some degree over the bye week, this break 11 weeks into a grueling season is much needed.

“It’s big. Guys have a chance to get their bodies right to kind of get their minds right in a lot of ways, to decompress, so it’s going to be awesome for everyone to come back but it’s really good to get away for a lot of people.”