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Gonzaga alum Colin Cloherty will join Indianapolis Colts on Super Bowl Sunday

No. 46 Colin Cloherty (Courtesy of Indianapolis Colts)

Three months ago, Colin Cloherty was an undrafted, unemployed pro football player dreaming of a big break ... well, any kind of break. This week, the 22-year-old from Bethesda was in Miami with the Indianapolis Colts -- and may come home with a coveted Super Bowl ring.

"It's crazy down here," Cloherty told us Thursday before practice. "I'm just trying to soak it all in."

The most improbable local-boy-makes-good story started a few years ago when the Gonzaga High grad headed to Brown because no college scouts were seriously interested. He played in the Ivy League (double majored in history and political science) and racked up impressive stats but was passed up in the NFL draft last spring.

But he didn't give up. The Colts signed the 6-2 tight end to the practice team where quarterback Peyton Manning nicknamed him "Ivy." The Colts dropped him, brought him back a few weeks later, then -- amazingly -- put him on the field for the last game of the season against the Buffalo Bills, where Cloherty caught one catch for two yards. (Yes, you read that right: two yards.)

Colin Cloherty, at left during his days at Gonzaga, reacts as time ticks off a 2003 victory over Good Council. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

He's still on the active list, although he didn't play in the AFC divisional or championship games, and won't find out if he's on the Super Bowl field until game day. And yet still eligible for a sizable chunk of bonus money: Members of the winning Super Bowl team will each get $83,000 ($42,000 for the losers) in addition to playoff bonuses.

"Now you can pay off your college loans," his father, ABC producer Jack Cloherty, told him.

"Thanks for the buzz kill, Dad," he shot back.

Cloherty has been asked to return to Colts training camp next year, but there are no guarantees that he'll be in another Super Bowl. So, he bought game tickets for his family and friends, and has a 50-50 shot of snagging one of those humongous gold-and-diamond rings awarded to players on the winning team-- something many NFL superstars never achieve.

Fantasy football, for real. "It's been an awesome experience," he said.

By The Reliable Source  |  February 5, 2010; 1:01 AM ET
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Next: Hey, isn't that. . . ?: Scott Brown at the Dubliner


Saints? Colts? Where the heck is the editor?

Despite the headline and photo caption, this kid plays for Indy.

Posted by: AreYouPeopleCrazy | February 5, 2010 4:54 AM | Report abuse

He's playing for the Saints and the Colts? Wow!

Posted by: subwayguy | February 5, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Poor Cloherty -- he's that obscure, apparently. Fixed now. Thanks!

Posted by: The Reliable Source | February 5, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Hail Gonzaga!

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 6, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Another little oopsie: the defeated high school in the photo caption is Good Counsel ("wise advice"), not Good Council ("nonexistent political entity").

Posted by: chrisd3 | February 8, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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