DeVan's job as Colts guard beats subbing

INDIANAPOLIS -- A year ago, Kyle DeVan was living with his mom in Vacaville, Calif., supervising dodge ball games or classes as a substitute teacher when needed.

“I was probably sitting around and eating, watching the games,” he said.

Saturday, even die-hard Raiders or 49ers fans in his hometown will be all about the Colts as DeVan starts a playoff game against the Ravens at right guard and tries to slow people like Ray Lewis.

Mike Pollak started the first seven games for the Colts, but DeVan had earned a time share in the last few of those. Then in the team’s eighth game he took over. He’s proved more physical and consistent than Pollak, a second-round pick from 2008.

DeVan played at Oregon State and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington. He wound up serving time last season on the Jets’ practice squad. He played for the Boise Burn of arenafootball2 in the spring of 2009.

Now things are a bit more high profile.

I thought he might be getting killed about it in the locker room, but veteran center Jeff Saturday, who also came into the league as an undrafted free agent, understands the situation and is hardly giving DeVan a hard time.

“I’m trying to keep that down to a minimum now," Saturday said. “Letting him enjoy the moment, not trying to overwhelm him with it.”

DeVan is one of 18 Colts in position to play in their first postseason game, though several of them might be inactive.

“It’s a great story … of how a guy’s career and life can change over a year,” Peyton Manning said. “… Kyle has been one of our hard-working guys. I think he loves football. He’s got a great attitude.

“It always makes you feel good as an older player, seeing a younger guy like that once you kind of learn about his story, how he got to that point. It does make you feel good about it. And we’ll count on him in a big way on Saturday to play well for us and I know he’ll do a good job.”

I watched Phillip B. Wilson try to pin DeVan down on the most important football game he’d played before this one, and DeVan wriggled and spun as best he could -- using some moves from his wrestling background -- to stay as general as possible.

He did mention Oregon State’s win at Oregon in the Civil War his senior year that got his team into the Top 25, but insisted he was singling it out only among his college games.

“I’ve got to answer clich√©-ish,” he said. “Because every game has been important.”

His education in the Colts’ ways obviously extends well beyond guard play already.