CINCINNATI — Jacob Tamme was talking about his role and his team, the winless Indianapolis Colts, after another demoralizing Sunday.
The Cincinnati Bengals had just hung a 27-17 loss on the 0-6 Colts in Paul Brown Stadium.
This is unfamiliar territory for Tamme, who starred on four consecutive state championship teams at Boyle County High School and set a University of Kentucky school record for receptions (133) by a tight end.
In his first three years in the NFL, he and the Colts made the playoffs each year.
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Last year, stepping in for injured teammate Dallas Clark, Tamme had a breakout season with 67 catches, good for 631 yards and four touchdowns.
Sunday, Tamme caught one pass for 1 yard. It was his first catch of the season.
"I'm frustrated as heck right now," said Tamme, a 6-foot-3, 236-pounder. "But when you look, there's another perspective. You just realize what a blessing this is. ... I believe that God has me doing this for things that are bigger than just football. That's always an encouraging thing."
That's the Tamme that Boyle County and UK fans have known.
The Tamme who not only was a two-time consensus all-Southeastern Conference pick, but also was named "most inspirational offensive player" by his UK teammates.
The Tamme who, with UK, won the national Bobby Bowden Award, presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to recognize a faith-based life and excellence in academics, community service and football.
The Tamme who, seven months ago, became a first-time father. He and wife Allison named their son Luke.
"That's a life-changer," Tamme said. "It teaches you a lot about yourself. ... And you learn from your wife in that situation, so it's been great."
All 67 of his catches in his great 2010 season came in the final 10 games, leading NFL receivers during that stretch.
Now, he's third on the depth chart, although he rotates in nearly every series. He also plays on special teams, but clearly has a role that has been reduced since last season.
"It's tough for any professional athlete in that spot, but I've never really been a guy that's obsessed with my role," Tamme said. "Do I want to be out there catching passes? Of course. If right now, for the team, my role is to play some offense and be a special teams leader, then I'm going to try to do that and excel at that."
He says he is a more complete player than he was at UK.
"I really developed my all-around game," he said. "You've got to be able to block, and guys that are a lot (bigger). In this league, you've got to be able to do everything — move, catch passes, pass-protect, block big defensive ends like the Bengals have."
Tamme, 26, gave a solid effort Sunday, but had only another loss to show for it.
The Colts, trailing by 13 points through three quarters, pulled to within three with 9½ minutes left.
Then, Indianapolis had a field goal blocked, lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and had a pass intercepted.
"It's the little things in every facet — offensive and special teams," Tamme said. "Some little thing here or there and the game swings. This team has a lot of fight, a lot of heart to make a comeback like that the way things are going for us, and we're not going to stop. We're going to keep playing ball and get better and find a way to get some wins."
Tamme, who needed only three years to earn a degree in integrated strategic communications at UK, has high hopes for the struggling Wildcats.
"I always keep up with the Cats and the (Boyle County) Rebels," said Tamme, who gets Friday night text updates on the high school team from his dad, Theo.
"I just hope (Kentucky) can get things going a bit. I know that staff knows how to coach and players know how to play. They've just got to make plays. So I'm excited to watch them as the year goes on."