Powers shows his injured right forearm is just fine
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.Calhoun Community College coach Mike Burns, left, with one of his former Decatur High athletes, Indianapolis Colts defensive back Jerraud Powers, at the Warhawks' home opener Sunday afternoon.
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Jerraud Powers has a souvenir from this past NFL football season that he carries with him constantly — on his right forearm, he bears a scar that’s about 7 or 8 inches long.
The scar is a small part of what it’s like to be Jerraud Powers, a second-year defensive back with the Indianapolis Colts. The Decatur resident has a kind and soft heart, as he proved again Sunday afternoon when he participated in the Calhoun Community College baseball team’s season-opening ceremony. But when he wears his No. 25 jersey for the Colts, the 5-foot-9, 192-pounder has shown he can survive in a tough sport where he often has to tackle offenisve players who outweigh him by 30 or 40 pounds.
In an overtime loss to Dallas two months ago, he broke a bone in his forearm while bringing down Cowboys receiver Miles Austin. And here’s the thing — he didn’t come out of the game. It happened in the first half, and he didn’t tell anybody until intermission.
“I dove and kind of slung my arm, and the ulnar bone hit his shin,” Powers said during the baseball game. “My ulnar bone just snapped. I knew I had broken it, because I could feel it clicking. I played the rest of the half, until I told them at the half. I guess with adrenaline and everything, it didn’t hurt, but at halftime, it was swelling, and I came out of the game.”
Powers had surgery two days later, which resulted in the long scar. A surgeon placed a plate and six screws in his arm.
Ask him about the arm, and Powers will say simply, “It’s fine.”
As Powers showed Sunday, his arm looks fine, too.
Powers threw out the first pitch for Calhoun’s game, before spending a couple of innings in the dugout with the Calhoun players and head coach Mike Burns, who coached him in football and baseball at Decatur High. Throwing right-handed, which meant Powers was using the arm that got hurt, he drilled a pitch to the catcher. The ball popped into the catcher’s mitt, just a few inches off the plate, although Powers joked later that he thought it was a strike.
“I haven’t thrown a baseball in about eight years,” Powers said, smiling. “I played in a charity softball game for (Indianapolis teammate) Robert Mathis a while back, but other than that, I haven’t done anything like this. It looks so long away from the mound.”
He joked, “But I got a little movement on the ball, and it was on the outside corner.”
The broken arm forced Powers to miss the last four games of the regular season. He also missed two other games with a foot injury, but in the 10 contests in which he played, Powers showed he is moving closer to his goal of becoming a Pro Bowl-quality player.
In the game before he hurt his foot, he had a career-high 11 tackles in a 27-24 win over Washington. He also broke up two passes and returned an interception 11 yards.
“I felt like in my second year, things were starting to come a little easier for me, because I had more confidence,” Powers said. “I have goals, like making the Pro Bowl. I had a couple of setbacks with the injuries, but I’m working to try to make it happen soon.”
Powers’ injuries were part of an injury-plagued year for the Colts, who fell to the New York Jets in the first-round of the playoffs. During the year, Indianpolis placed 17 players, including Powers, on injured reserve at some point, which meant they weren’t able to play the rest of the season.
For Powers, it was hard to watch his team play without him. In fact, he hasn’t taken time off lately as he usually does after the season.
Even though he has carved out plenty of time to play with his niece and nephew, watch his sister, Jasmine Powers, play basketball at Samford, and attend some Decatur High basketball games, he has rehabilitated his arm and gone through some workouts.
“I usually take some time off and get away from football and working out, because it’s a long season,” he said. “But I’ve been rehabbing and trying to stay in decent shape.
But for one Sunday afternoon, he took time off to spend with Burns, his former coach, to help draw a few more fans to the Warhawks’ home opener.
Powers played junior varsity baseball at Decatur in his freshman and sophomore years, and toward the end of his sophomore season, he won a promotion to the varsity and served as a pinch-runner. Burns said Powers would’ve been a good baseball player, but that his future was in football and Powers needed to spend time in the weight room rather than the baseball diamond. No matter, they still have a solid relationship, and Burns said he used Powers as an example to his Calhoun players.
“At Decatur High, we always talked about class and character, and Jerraud is a prime example of that,” Burns said. “He’s class and character all the way. I’d give him my keys and let him take care of my kids.””