Colts rookie receiver Deon Cain has a Hall of Fame mentor in Randy Moss
WESTFIELD, Ind. – The teacher will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
That would be Randy Moss, the otherworldly wideout .
The pupil is taking his first NFL steps with a youth-laden Indianapolis Colts bunch at Grand Park.
That would be Deon Cain, a sixth-round draft pick out of Clemson.
“Great experience,” Cain said Friday. “I learned a lot from him.”
The workouts with a player who re-defined how the receiver position is played were arranged shortly after Cain completed his pre-draft preparations, before he realized the Colts considered him a viable prospect. Cain’s personal trainer played with Moss and helped arrange the hands-on session.
They occurred earlier this month in Tampa, Cain’s hometown, lasted about a week and were expansive and invaluable.
“Mostly just . . . how to attack DBs’ leverages, learn how to run certain routes in different coverages and just really learn more about the NFL and learn how to be a pro,” Cain said. “Mostly things about football, but also he taught me things about learning how to be a pro, showing up in meetings, learning how to post different things and stuff like that.
“So it’s more than just the football side. I learned a lot just from him that week.”
Moss’ NFL resume spanned 16 seasons with five teams, and his bottom line was worthy of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His 982 receptions rank a modest 15th in league history, but his 156 touchdown catches rank 2nd and his 15,292 yards are 4th. His 23 TDs in 2007 with New England eclipsed Jerry Rice’s single-season record.
Moss arguably was the most uncoverable receiver in NFL history.
“It was a blessing,” Cain said. “At the end of the day, everybody looks up to Randy Moss. Who don’t want to work with one of the best receivers in the game? So I learned a lot from him, and just for him giving us his time and teaching me the game is just a blessing for me and my family.”
It’s risky to make snap judgments on how a rookie – and young player for that matter – performs during offseason drills and training camp. Remember Duron Carter?
Even so, Cain has been a constant since the Colts convened for work in April. Every day, it seems, he makes plays.
During Thursday’s opening practice, he used his 6-2 frame in double coverage along the right sideline. Cain went vertical and snatched a high pass from Jacoby Brissett.
“He flashes,” coach Frank Reich said. “He’s got a little knack, good against press coverage and then showing ability to make the play downfield like that.
“A good start for him.”
It was just a start.
Friday, Cain offered two more highlight grabs. On one, he adjusted to a low throw from Brissett, went down and cradled the football before it hit the ground. On the next, he again displayed his ability to maintain control while going up and grabbing a pass, this one from Andrew Luck.
The knack for being possessive when the football arrives might be something he picked up from Moss.
“When the ball’s in the air, it’s just you. You and the ball,” Cain said of Moss’ overriding advice. “I can say this one thing. I always used to just be like, when I go on deep balls and stuff like that, I would always just try to think about too much.
“Now, it’s just focus in on just one thing. So I just try to just take it and just try to put it all in one and just go and attack that ball.”
Cain finds himself in a receivers’ room begging for someone to emerge and prove to be a viable sidekick to perennial Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton. The veteran candidates include Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant. Cain and fifth-round pick Reece Fountain lead the youth brigade.
“I think this is a good start right now, and I’m just really trying to stay consistent at this point,” Cain said. “Just keep on working from here. I like my role right now, as I am right now, and I just really want to be a fit for this team so we can win a lot of ballgames around here.”
Training camp is the latest phase as Cain attempts to prove skeptics wrong. Colts general manager Chris Ballard was thrilled he still was around in the sixth round, and Cain was because of a less-than-smooth career at Clemson.
He was one of three players suspended and sent home prior to the 2015 Orange Bowl for a failed drug test. Then, his production slipped from 2016 to ’17, in part because of the departure of quarterback Deshaun Watson to the NFL.
“Everybody’s going to have doubts about a typical player,” Cain said, “but at the end of the day all I can do is be me. And they just have to get a feel from myself. I’m always going to be honest to anything, anyone. So I try to be open. I try to be honest.
“I try to let everyone know who I am. As long as I gave my hundred percent, that’s all I can just approach to everyone.”
Cain insisted he learned from his experiences at Clemson.
“Mostly just put your goals in front of you,” he said. “Think before you do anything. And it helped me mature in life and just be a man and helped me just emerge and be that guy for my family and for myself.
“It taught me a lot, and I’m trying to just move on forward from here.”