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And so was Yazel.
"You will be sitting with my family in our box (Sunday)," Ballard texted Yazel last week. "Get your arm warmed up — we might need you."
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Of course, Ballard was joking (and Wentz ultimately was activated for Sunday's game). But this has been an ongoing joke — at least to Ballard; the jury is still out on Yazel — ever since Ballard received a letter from Yazel last year.
The letter was a plea from Yazel, 45, as the Colts had an opening quarterback position, to be considered for the job.
"In past years, I have contacted your predecessors at GM, Mr. Polian and Mr. Grigson, when there was an opening at the quarterback position. They both had something in common after ignoring my offer — no Super Bowl," wrote Yazel. "Please don't make the same mistake, Colts Nation is counting on you. I eagerly anticipate your response."
For years, Yazel has been sending letters to Colts general managers, offering his talents as Colts quarterback. He had never received a response — until Ballard.
Ballard got Yazel's letter. He read the letter. And he responded with a phone call. Yazel didn't know the number was Ballard's and let it go to voicemail.
"Since the last two guys ignored your letter and didn't go to the Super Bowl," Ballard said in the message he left on Yazel's phone in February, "there's no way I'm ignoring that."
That message turned into a call where the two connected and talked for nearly 30 minutes. And that call turned into an open offer from Ballard for Yazel to come to any Colts game he wanted this season.
'I was kind of nervous'
As the Colts schedule was released in May, Yazel started plotting which game would be best.
Yazel is an emergency room doctor at Clark Memorial in Jeffersonville, Indiana. His wife, Vicki, is a domestic violence, sexual assault nurse. His son, Blaine, plays basketball. His daughter, Delaney, is a swimmer. Schedules are tough to align among the four.
Sunday's game turned out to be the perfect one. It could be a Christmas gift for his kids and a great way to start the New Year.
Yazel picked up his phone Tuesday and called Ballard. "I was kind of nervous," Yazel said. Would Ballard even remember him?
The call went to voicemail and Yazel left a message: "I heard, with COVID going on, Carson may be out this weekend... didn't know if you needed me to show?"
Within 30 seconds, Ballard sent a text back asking how many tickets Yazel needed. Then the text that Yazel would be sitting in a suite with Ballard's family. And by the way...
"Get your arm warmed up."
'His wife knew all about the letter'
The tickets were left at will call Sunday in Lucas Oil Stadium. Yazel picked them up and his family headed to the elevators that would take them up to Ballard's suite.
As they step on to a crowded elevator, Yazel could hardly believe it. Ballard was in the back corner.
His first instinct was to yell back and thank Ballard for what he'd done for his family. But no one else on the elevator seemed to notice it was Ballard. Yazel didn't want to be the guy who got Ballard mobbed by a crowd in a tiny space.
"I kept my mouth shut," he said.
Once in the suite, Yazel met Ballard's wife, Kristin. "She treated us like gold," he said.
"She knew all about that letter," Yazel said. "It was fantastic."
Ballard had liked that Yazel's letter stood out from the typical ones he receives. Those letters are usually from armchair quarterbacks telling Ballard what he needs to do, or what he's done wrong.
"He never gets anything funny like that," Yazel said.
As Yazel sat in the suite, he continued the humor. Every time Wentz missed a pass, he joked: "If they only had me in the game."
"It was a bummer they lost," he said. "But getting to see it come down to the very last play and all that. It was a great game."
Ballard never showed up to the suite. And that was OK with Yazel. He wasn't expecting him to.
"I'm sure he had some actual work to do," Yazel said.
After the game, Yazel did get to talk to Ballard, via text.
"I was loosening up the arm," Yazel wrote to Ballard. "Carson had a couple misses."
Ballard laughed. And gave Yazel a promise -- unfortunately without Yazel as quarterback. "We'll get the Jaguars next week...and go on to the playoffs."
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Chris Ballard invites ER doctor who wanted to QB to Colts game