INDIANAPOLIS – It has been awhile since Indianapolis Colts assistant coaches Gene Huey and Pete Metzelaars slipped on pads and a helmet, but the two’s playing careers are still fresh in the minds of their former teams.
Last month, Huey and Metzelaars were honored and recognized by their former teams for their outstanding playing careers. Huey was inducted into the University of Wyoming’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame and Metzelaars was elected to the Buffalo Bills’ 50th Season All-Time Team.
Huey, who is in his 18th season as the Colts’ running backs coach, starred at Wyoming in the late 1960s. As a defensive back and wide receiver, Huey set 13 receiving records as a Cowboy and is the only player in Western Athletic Conference history to be named all-conference on both offense and defense in the same season.
More importantly, according to Huey, is the fact that the Colts assistant coach was a part of three conference championships team. His senior year, 1967, he co-captained the Cowboys and led them to an undefeated season and a Sugar Bowl appearance.
“Just great memories,” Huey said. “I played with some great athletes, and people, out there.”
Huey traveled back to Laramie, Wyoming last month for the induction ceremony. He said about 25 former players returned for the event and gave him an opportunity to catch up with old friends.
A native of Uniontown, Penn., Huey said he always felt at home out west.
“Some people would say it is the middle of nowhere, but it was a great experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said.
Metzelaars experienced similarly fond memories during his playing days, in which he spent nine of his 16 seasons with the Buffalo Bills and set the record for most games ever played by a tight end with 235.
Like Huey, Metzelaars was honored last month by his former team. He traveled to Buffalo for the Bills’ home opener, where they held a special on-field ceremony at Ralph Wilson Stadium to recognize Metzelaars and the rest of the franchise’s all-time team. The franchise’s fans nominated and voted on the team.
“To be elected to the team was thrilling for me and also a bit humbling,” Metzelaars said. “It is pretty exciting to think in the history of a whole team that I had been selected as the tight end was just a great honor.”
Now in his sixth season as the Colts’ offensive quality coach, Metzelaars said he remembers coming to Buffalo in 1985 and enduring a difficult 2-14 season.
But the memory stands true against the test of time because Buffalo’s fortunes soon turned brighter. With primarily the same team that went 2-14, Metzelaars and the Bills made it to four consecutive Super Bowls in the early 1990s.
“We saw the best of times, we saw the worst of times and we all went through that together,” he said. “That shared experience is what you really remember.”
Metzelaars said the September ceremony gave Bills players from different generations a chance to share stories with one another and talk about their playing days.
“To be with all the guys who had also been named, a lot of who I played with, was just great,” he said.
Huey and Metzelaars both said they have a wealth of memories when they look back on their playing days and were glad they had an opportunity to reminisce with their former teammates and coaches.
“It was a unique experience,” Metzelaars said. “It is something I will always remember.”