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Clayton Geathers comes from a family with NFL history

INDIANAPOLIS -- There was no official pressure for Indianapolis Colts rookie Clayton Geathers to make it to the NFL. But in the back of his mind, Geathers always knew he wanted to make it to the league.

That’s what happens when you come from a family with a history of playing in the NFL.

Five other family members from Geathers' family have made it to the league.

The list grew to six when the Colts selected Geathers, a safety from the University of Central Florida, in the fourth round of the draft last weekend.

"It’s just a blessing to have that family pedigree," Geathers said. "Just to learn from them and get advice from them. It’s just a blessing. To continue the Geathers legacy is an honor ... Seeing my uncles and cousins, I wanted that same thing. Just work hard. Just to have them around to give me advice, go to games and see how everything works. It was just an honor."

The difference between Geathers and the other five family members to play in the NFL is that he’s the only one who doesn’t play on the defensive line.

Uncle Robert Sr. was a defensive tackle, another uncle, Jumpy, was a defensive end, cousin Robert Jr. was a defensive end, cousin Clifton, who was with the Colts in 2012, was also a defensive end and another cousin, Kwame, was a defensive tackle.

"I always say they must not have been passing me the food," Geathers said jokingly.

Geathers is stepping into an opportunity with the Colts where only one starting position is set with veteran Mike Adams. In the offseason they signed former Atlanta Falcons safety Dwight Lowery, who started 15 games last season, but the job is open for competition.

Geathers mainly played strong safety while at Central Florida, but he and the Colts say he’s versatile enough to play free safety. That’s a good thing, because coach Chuck Pagano likes his safeties to be interchangeable.

Geathers, nicknamed "porcupine" growing because nobody could touch him while playing football, started 52 of the 53 games he played in college. He finished with 383 tackles, three interceptions, five forced fumbles and 30 passes defended.

"Clayton, he’s a big guy," Pagano said. "He’s got range. He can play down in the box. He can play in coverage. He’ll need some work. He’s not even close to his ceiling. That’s the great thing. He’s not even close to his ceiling. He’s a big, strong, athletic guy. He’s got high football IQ. He loves the game. I know the guys that coach him personally.

"Every one of the guys that we talked about, it started with the scouts, but then every one of the guys that I knew down there talked about this kid, stood on the table for him."