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Indianapolis Colts

A Look Around The AFC South: 7.27.17

Intro:’s Andrew Walker offers a comprehensive look at the latest offseason action around the AFC South Division


INDIANAPOLIS –Training camp is so close you can smell it.

In fact, for the Indianapolis Colts' rookies, camp is already here.

The rookies reported to the team's training facility on West 56th Street in Indianapolis on Monday, giving them a much-needed head start on the most grueling part of the year, beyond just the grind of the season itself.

The rooks will be joined by their veteran teammates on Saturday, and that's when the fun really begins.

While we'll, of course, have full coverage of training camp right here on, we know how important it is to also keep an eye on the progress of Indy's rivals across the AFC South Division, all three of whom have already began camp, or will open up camp soon.

Let's take a look around the South:

Houston Texans
A year after missing all of the preseason on his way to an injury-shortened regular season, J.J. Watt made his return to training camp for the Houston Texans on Wednesday.

Practice never felt quite so good for the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

"It's just good to be back on the field, be back playing football, be back with my teammates," Watt said. "It's just — it feels good. It feels like where I belong."

Watt played in only three games last season due to a pair of back surgeries. The first was to repair a herniated disk in July, causing him to miss all of training camp and Houston's four preseason games.

The defensive end, who won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2012 and 2014-15, then started in the Texans' first three regular-season games before reinjuring his back and undergoing season-ending surgery.

Watt took part in Houston's offseason program following his surgeries, but Wednesday's start of training camp was a day one of the NFL's most dominant defensive players had looked forward to throughout his recovery.

"Obviously, it's been a long time coming," Watt said. "We've done a lot of work to get to where we are, but today's just the beginning. Today's just Day One and I'm really looking forward to stacking up days and, like I said, I just really enjoy being with my teammates."

(via The Associated Press)Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have made Brandon Linder one of the NFL's highest-paid centers.

Linder signed a five-year contract extension worth a little more than $50 million Tuesday, according to a person familiar with negotiations. The deal came on the eve of the Jaguars reporting for training camp.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Jaguars do not disclose contract details.

"Brandon has proven on the field that he is capable of highly productive performances, and this is a high-performance business," said Tom Coughlin, the team's executive vice president of football operations.

"We look for his continued leadership development as an anchor of our offensive line. Brandon has earned this new contract and the high expectations that go with it."

Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with offensive tackle Dennis Kelly.

The team did not announce terms of the deal Wednesday, two days before the Titans report for training camp.

The Titans traded for Kelly last August, swapping wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to the Eagles for the lineman. The 6-foot-8, 321-pound Kelly played 16 games for Tennessee, including six starts as an extra tight end. When left tackle Taylor Lewan was ejected early for contacting an official against Green Bay, Kelly replaced him in a 47-25 win.

Kelly provides depth behind Pro Bowler Lewan and All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin.

Originally a fifth-round draft pick by Philadelphia in 2012 out of Purdue, Kelly has started 21 of his 46 games.

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