In the world of professional football scouting, you win some and you lose some. The best prospects often turn out to be major league duds (example: Matt Leinart), and under the radar players sometimes evolve into elite franchise powerhouses. One such hot prospect who didn’t quite pan out is Rob Morris, a middle linebacker who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2000. Morris had played exceptionally well in high school and college, and for a time it seemed he was an answer to the Colts’ myriad problems on defense. He was even a part of the 2006 Super Bowl team. But declining numbers and a failed physical would lead to the eventual departure of Morris. Now an unsigned free agent, Rob Morris’ future is up in the air. Nonetheless, this bruising 6′ 2″, 242 pound middle linebacker from Idaho has already made his mark on Indianapolis sports.
Born on January 18, 1975 in Idaho, Rob Morris attended Nampa High School, where he lettered in three sports: track, basketball, and football. It was in high school that Morris first began to attract attention in the sporting world, earning All-State honors his junior and senior years; as a senior he was an honorable mention All-American by USA Today. From high school, Rob Morris moved on to Brigham Young University in Utah. Though Morris played for the football team his freshman year, he didn’t become a starter until his sophomore season, when he began to rack up big numbers. He earned 110 tackles and one sack on his way to Outstanding Linebacker of the Year honors and a second team All-WAC (Western Athletic Conference) berth. His junior year would be even more successful; he tackled 147 opponents, sacked six quarterbacks, and was named to the All WAC first team, earned WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, and made the Football News All-American First Team.
|Video tribute to Zionsville, Indiana resident and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Rob Morris|
Though Morris only played seven games for Brigham Young in his senior year, he still managed to earn 77 tackles. He made three All-American First Teams (from Associated Press, Sporting News, and Football News) and was a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award that’s given to the country’s top linebacker every year. All Rob Morris‘ collegiate gridiron successes came together in 2000, when Morris was selected with high hopes by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft. It was the draft by the Colts that precipitated Morris’ move to the nearby Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, Indiana. Morris got a slow start with the Colts, only playing seven games as a backup in the 2000 season before being placed on the Injured Reserve list for a leg injury. The next year, however, would prove to be a breakout year for Morris.
2001 was Rob Morris’ finest statistical year. He started fourteen games as a middle linebacker, leading the team in tackles (128) with the help of a career defining eleven tackle game in his first professional start, in a game against the New York Jets. Rob Morris would start almost every game from the 2001 season on, playing the full season in 2002 and 2003 and no less than 14 games almost every other season. He had several excellent seasons with the boys from Lucas Oil Stadium, including the 2003 season, in which he led the team to the eleventh best defense in the NFL and had three double digit tackling games; the 2004 season, where he became one of the most dependable players on the Colts roster; and of course the 2006 Super Bowl season, where he only had five starts during the regular season but started all four post-season games, including a 10 tackle game against the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the 2006 playoffs.
After the 2006 season, Rob Morris‘ contract expired and the player moved to free agency. However, it wasn’t long before the Colts re-signed Morris for the 2007 season. The return to the Colts wouldn’t last long, though; Morris only started two games (versus the New Orleans Saints and the Denver Broncos) in the 2007 NFL season, posting thirteen tackles (twelve of which were solo) before being placed on injured reserve for a knee injury. After a failed physical, Rob Morris was released by the Colts in 2008; he hasn’t been picked up by another team since. Though it would appear this famous Zionsville person‘s career in Indianapolis is finished, this eight year NFL veteran probably has enough life left in him (and his knee) for another Super Bowl run with another team. Rob Morris may not have been the defensive juggernaut the Colts were hoping for when they drafted him in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft, but the team did get a dependable, consistent linebacker who was a solid part of the depth chart for seven years. And hey, even if Rob Morris never joins another NFL team, he’ll always have a Super Bowl ring.
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