Coby Fleener gives ball from first career interception to lucky Colts fan


Coby Fleener #80 of the Indianapolis Colts walks off the field after beating the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on November 22, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 25, 2015) – The keepsake from one of the more memorable and improbable plays in Coby Fleener’s athletic career won’t occupy a spot in his trophy case.

The football probably is being tossed around by a lucky fan who was on hand for Fleener’s first career interception – remember, he’s a tight end – that sealed the Indianapolis Colts’ 24-21 win over the Falcons Sunday in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

After securing a Hail Mary pass delivered by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan as time expired, Fleener jogged over the stands and handed the football to a young Colts fan.

“I’ve kept the stuff that coach has given me,’’ he said. “But some day balls are going to get old and dusty and they’re not going to matter. There was a little kid and I thought it would probably matter more to him than it would to me some day.’’

Fleener has piled up 165 receptions in 54 regular-season games, but the interception, naturally, was his first.

“First since ever, probably,’’ he said. “Maybe a high school practice.’’

Coach Chuck Pagano inserted him into the game as a deep protector on the Falcons’ desperation play.

Defensive players generally are instructed to knock down a Hail Mary pass rather than attempt to intercept it.

“I didn’t know he had an incentive in his contract,’’ Pagano joked. “It’s an extra $500 for the interception, so I said, ‘OK, it’s all right.’”

Fleener determined the interception was his best option.

“It was a combination of not knowing the situation well enough and not knowing who was around me well enough to say, ‘OK, is it possible that I accidentally hit the ball up just enough?’’’ he said. “The natural reaction was to catch it and fall down.’’

Good at tackle? No one should be surprised if rookie Denzelle Good’s first action of the season comes at the starting right tackle Sunday against Tampa Bay. The team’s seventh-round draft pick has been a healthy inactive in all 10 games.

With left tackle Anthony Castonzo week-to-week after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his right knee at Atlanta, the Colts must shuffle their offensive line.

The likely result: Joe Reitz from right tackle to left tackle, Jack Mewhort at left guard, Jon Harrison at center, Hugh Thornton at right guard and Good at right tackle. That would involve the least disruption.

“We haven’t made any final decisions,’’ Pagano said. “We’ve practiced with (Good) there. We’ve practiced with Mewhort there.’’

Mewhort started the first two games at right tackle, but struggled. That contributed to the team’s decision to insert Reitz at right tackle and moving Mewhort back to left guard.

Pagano said Good has “great size, great length. He’s got excellent feet. He’s a dancing bear out there for a guy who’s 350 pounds. He’s just young.’’

More medical matters: The list of players held out of Wednesday’s practice was long. It included Castonzo, quarterback Andrew Luck (kidney/abdomen), safety Mike Adams (ankle), cornerback Vontae Davis (hamstring), wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (ankle), linebacker Jerrell Freeman (ribs), running back Frank Gore (ankle), linebacker Erik Walden (foot), wide receiver Andre Johnson (rest) and linebacker Robert Mathis (rest).

Cornerback D’Joun Smith (knee) and guard Hugh Thornton (shoulder) were limited.

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