By VAN HOLLAND
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Tarboro native and former Tarboro Viking star Shaun Draughn is going to make his return to the NFL Sunday. After being sidelined for almost 10 weeks, Draughn signed with the Indianapolis Colts Tuesday. He will be wearing No. 21.
Draughn was signed by the Colts after a roster spot was opened when they placed linebacker Pat Angerer on injured reserve.
"It's a sigh of relief to be signed by the Colts heading towards the end of the season," Draughn said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "I am extremely glad to sign with them before the end of the season, because that may help me secure a spot heading into training camp next year."
Draughn was excited about signing the contract before the end of the season, because he said it makes it easier to have a shot the following season to play if you are on a team than coming in as a free agent. He didn't release the details of the contract, but said the Colts were a great team with some great coaches and players.
Draughn is familiar with some of the Colts coaching staff, because of his North Carolina Tar Heels football career. When Draughn played at North Carolina, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and assistant Charlie Williams were on the staff.
"It is good to come in and play for some coaches who I already know," Draughn said. "I am excited about playing here and the chance I have been given."
Draughn will be on special teams and possibly be the back-up running back behind Tashard Choice Sunday, because Pango doesn't know if Donald Brown will be able to play because of an injury. Brown suffered a stinger in the game Sunday and is day-to-day.
Draughn has his mind set to be successful in the NFL and knew another shot was headed his way, but it was just a matter of when. Recently over the past few weeks, Draughn had worked out for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets, but nothing panned out from those workouts.
"I have been very humbled during my time waiting for a team to call me so I could get back on the field," he said. "God has rewarded me with obedience and I learned during my time away from football over the past few months that I have grown closer to God. He answered my prayers once again."
He got his chance for the third time this season with as many teams. Draughn was cut by the Chiefs in the final week of preseason when they decided they only wanted to keep three running backs and Draughn was the odd man out. During week three of the season, the Baltimore Ravens signed Draughn as a kick returner and running back, but after three weeks with the Ravens, he was released again.
Draughn has rushed for 235 yards on 63 carries and scored twice in 19 career games. He has also caught 24 passes for 158 yards and has returned 25 kickoffs for 590 yards, with his longest return being 41 yards.
Draughn will also join Trent Richardson in the backfield, who was acquired by the Colts in a trade with the Cleveland Browns earlier this season.