Colts GM defends rookie Mitchell in profane rant

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard fiercely defended second-round pick Adonai Mitchell against criticisms of his character after selecting the wide receiver Friday night, calling the condemnations of the former Texas star “bulls—” during a lengthy rant.

Mitchell, selected 52nd overall, had hoped to be selected in the first round but slid into the second round amid reports that he interviewed poorly and was a difficult player to assess.

Ballard pushed back vociferously against those reports.

“I read some of the bulls— that was said,” Ballard said. “Excuse my language. Our typical league — unnamed sources, bad interviews. That’s such bulls—, I mean, it f—ing is. It’s bulls—. Put your name on it. I’m tired of it. We tear these young men down.

“These are 21-, 22-year old young men. And can people out there tell me they’re perfect in their lives? It’s crazy. It’s crap. This is a good kid. And for those reports to come out, it’s bulls—.”

Mitchell also was defiant earlier Friday when speaking to Indianapolis reporters, opening his virtual interview by saying that the “only thing I’m feeling is I’m just kind of pissed. I don’t really know what other way to call it.”

Asked if he was upset because he was the 11th receiver taken overall, Mitchell said: “I understand it is just the way things go. So I’m just ready to work. At the end of the day, people have been chosen before me. That’s just the reality of it and my job now is to make them pay and bring the best version of me every day to the Indianapolis Colts.”

The Colts were highly intrigued by Mitchell but opted to trade down from pick 45 to No. 52, prompting an even longer wait for Mitchell and likely leading to greater frustration.

When the Colts called him to inform him he would be their next selection, Ballard broke the ice by asking: “‘You tired of sitting around?’ The passion came out pretty clearly on the phone.”

Ballard later admitted that Mitchell will need to grow a bit, like many rookies.

“Look, he’s like any young player,” Ballard said. “They get built up so big now, especially in college football. I mean, the NIL and all the stuff they go through, sometimes a little adversity, a little humbleness is a good thing. I think he’ll respond.”

Mitchell caught 55 passes for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first and only season at Texas in 2023. His 11 touchdowns were the fifth-most in a single season in Texas school history.

Asked to describe his game, Mitchell was curt and to the point.

“The best,” he said.

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