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Colts rookie Malik Hooker 'gifted enough' to be ready despite missing offseason

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Colts upgrade their defense with Malik Hooker (0:55)

With the 15th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, a player Field Yates says is a great umbrella protecting against big plays. (0:55)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Malik Hooker's first day of rookie minicamp with the Indianapolis Colts wasn’t spent playing center field intercepting passes on Friday.

Instead, the former Ohio State safety was on the sideline in sweatpants, sneakers and a jersey in a spectator role -- a position he’ll be during offseason workouts because of a double sports hernia and hip injury he suffered last season. The plan is for Hooker to be ready for the start of training camp in late July.

“For me, it’s studying film and rehabbing,” Hooker said. “I can’t go out there and compete physically. Playbook and film study have to be my best friend right now. Without that, what sense does it make to go out there and do everything you can, but you’re doing it the wrong way. I have to study the film inside and out and make sure I know my job for when I get healthy.”

Hooker said he originally was injured Nov. 19 against Michigan State, and he played through the pain against Michigan the following week and also in Ohio State's College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Clemson on New Year’s Eve.

“At that point in the season I already knew I was declaring for the draft,” he said. “I didn’t want leave out where I sat out the last two games. That’s the last time you get to play with the guys that you came in with and guys you built a bond with. I felt like there was no choice for me to sit out.”

Hooker, who returned three of his seven interceptions for touchdowns last season, said he took eight ibuprofen pills to play against Clemson.

“After the game was I was hurting; during the game I was fine,” he said. “I knew something was wrong from the week before. Start of the practice week I couldn’t run full speed at all. I waited until after the season to have them to look at it because I didn’t want them to wave me off as not being able to play.”

Hooker, like the Colts, would rather he be on the field during these offseason workouts. But as long as he has the system down, he’s confident enough in his ability that he thinks he’ll be fine once he gets on the field.

“Easiest thing is to go out there and do it,” Hooker said. “Hardest thing is to know exactly what you’re doing. I’m putting all this time in watching film. I feel like I’m gifted enough to go out there and do the job. I know what I’m doing.”