Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
He signed a one-year contract Tuesday that is reportedly worth approximately $3 million, with $1.5 million guaranteed.
“I’ve always been hungry and motivated. One-year deal, [a] 10-year deal, it doesn’t matter. I just try and make plays out there on the field. I don’t look at it that way,” Heyward-Bey said during a brief teleconference with the Colts media Tuesday afternoon.
“At the end, it just kind of came down to Indy and Detroit. There were other teams out there but me and my agent, we just kind of narrowed things down to those places.”
The 6-foot-2, 216-pound receiver caught 140 passes for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Raiders. Heyward-Bey, who was released by Oakland due to team salary cap issues, gives Indianapolis a big, athletic speed receiver to compliment veteran Reggie Wayne and second-year standout T.Y. Hilton.
“Well if you just look at the roster, you have [quarterback] Andrew Luck, in my opinion the best young quarterback out there. You’ve got a veteran in Reggie Wayne,” he said. “You have a former teammate in mine in Samson [Satele] at the center. They had some young guys make some plays out there. So just being a part of something like that, I think it can be great.”
In 2011, he had one of his most productive season with career bests in receptions (64) and receiving yards (975), along with four touchdowns. Bey also registered three 100-yard receiving performances for the year, including a career-high 155-yard game against Detroit (12/18/11).
“We feel great about acquiring a talented player in Darrius Heyward-Bey,” General Manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “He's big, strong and shows toughness in traffic and after the catch. He's got elite finishing speed that's as good as there is in the NFL.
“With this [coaching] staff, this team and overall culture we're building here in Indy, we felt strongly that he was the right player and person at the wide receiver position for us moving forward.”
Heyward-Bey is the 10th veteran free agent added to the Indianapolis roster since last month. He joins offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (San Francisco), safety LaRon Landry (NY Jets), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), defensive end Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (San Diego) and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (Tennessee).
“I just felt comfortable [signing with the Colts]. I mean my whole life I’ve followed my heart on decisions and I’ve made tough decisions in my life before,” Heyward-Bey explained. “So in this case I kind of did the same thing. I took the information in front of me when it came to the Colts and other things and in the end my heart told me to take it.”