Western Michigan Represented in NFL Playoffs in Interesting Way


Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Joe Reitz (76) celebrates as he leaves the field following the game against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Your are a big man for a division one college. You get done with your time in college and leave the program as the third-leading scorer and rebounder in the schools history. Now what do you do? Well for former Western Michigan University Basketball player Joe Reitz, you get into football.

"“I knew my chances for the NBA were slim,” Reitz said. ” 6’7″ centers who can’t jump very high, there’s not a lot of those in the NBA, so my style — kind of being big and physical — translated over to the NFL.”"

Obviously Reitz went undrafted, but was signed by the Baltimore Ravens. He was supposed to play as a tight end but eventually was groomed as an offensive tackle due in large part to athleticism. At the start of the 2008 season Reitz was on the Ravens practice squad. His playing and condition was derail however by a shoulder injury that put him in injured reserved.

Oct 6, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne (87) and guard Joe Reitz (76) celebrate a touchdown during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts won 34-28. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

He stayed with the Ravens for the next two seasons. He made it no further than the practice squad and in 2010 he was released by the team. The Miami Dolphins claimed him off waivers, then released him a few days later. However a hometown team came to the rescue.

The same day that Reitz was waived by the Dolphins the Indianapolis Colts claimed him. He stayed on the Colts practice squad all of the 2010 season. In 2011 the former Western Michigan basketball star finally saw some playing time off the practice squad.

He was named the starting right tackle for the Colts in August of 2011. At the end of the season he had played in 11 games. Heading into the next season he was the frontrunner for another starting spot at right guard. However, the injury bug hit Reitz again and this time it was a knee injury.

Reitz had arthroscopic surgery to fix his knee. He also had issues with a concussion that made him miss time as well and only played in 9 games that 2012 season. In 2013 a healthy Reitz appeared in 14 games for the Colts. This season he has played in 10 games and is one win away from playing in the biggest game of his life; the Super Bowl.

The tackle is known for being a do-whatever-it-takes grit guy. His coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s big. He’s athletic. He’s smart. He’s tough.”. In his 277 snaps this season, Reitz has only allowed 2 sacks and nothing more on his quarterback Andrew Luck. While Reitz isn’t a name none in homes across the country, he is a hard player that most likely is known in every home in Indy.

Indianapolis is the hometown of Reitz, who is enjoying his time playing with the Colts. The 29 year old former basketball star turned professional football player is living in Indianapolis with his wife and their two children. A 3 year old girl Julianna and a 2 year old boy AJ.

"“Fortunately, I’ve been able to find a home here in Indianapolis. And l love Indianapolis, love the city, love the organization, and it’s fun to be a part of this playoff run.”"

The Colts will be taking on the New England Patriots in the AFC title game this Sunday at 6:40pm.