INDIANAPOLIS - When Eduardo Gonzalez watched his children compete in sports, he always sensed something different about his youngest son.
Yes, all of his kids were successful, passionate, and good students who embraced the games they played.
But Anthony Gonzalez had an extra intangible.
"I'm proud of all my kids, but he always had this dedication to the sport to get to this level, a dedication the others didn't have," Eduardo Gonzalez said.
It's one of the traits that tempted the Indianapolis Colts to defy conventional wisdom and make the Ohio State receiver their first round pick in last week's NFL draft.
Gonzalez is smallish by NFL standards at 6 feet and 193 pounds, but model size for the Colts' game plan.
At 6 feet, 185 pounds, Marvin Harrison has made eight consecutive Pro Bowl appearances and owns all of the Colts' major receiving records. At 6 feet, 198 pounds, Reggie Wayne earned his first Pro Bowl trip last season while emerging as one of the league's best No. 2 receivers. At 5-foot-11, 187 pounds, Brandon Stokley proved a reliable third option for Peyton Manning.
Together in 2004, they became the first receiving trio in NFL history to each top 1,000 yards and catch at least 10 touchdowns in the same season.
Stokley's departure after last year's Super Bowl victory left an opening for Gonzalez, who is expected to fill the void.
He arrived yesterday at the Colts rookie mini-camp with the same goals he took to Ohio State - win championships, be a good teammate, and thrive in the role he's assigned.
During Sunday's introductory news conference, Gonzalez promised to do all of those things and more by studying and watching film.
It's a line that could have come from Peyton Manning, the Super Bowl MVP and the NFL's top pupil.
The harder part is proving it.
"I think the first practice sobers you up a little bit," the rookie said. "It's exciting to be here, it's something I've wanted to do my whole life."
Gonzalez is looking forward to playing with Manning.
"I think it's perfect for every possible reason," Gonzalez said. "If I had been recruited and had the chance to pick a team, this is the one I would have picked."