Colts Agree to Terms with Rookie RB Donald Brown
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Colts reed to training camp on Sunday morning and afternoon, and when practice opens Monday, the rookies will be there.
All of the rookies.
Running back Donald Brown, the Colts' first-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, has agreed to terms on a contract, Colts President Bill Polian said Sunday. With the other seven draft selections already having signed, that means the Colts' entire draft class will be present when the team opens 2009 Training Camp Monday.
Full attendance is always a goal, Colts President Bill Polian said.
And that's particularly true for the draft class.
"With rookies, particularly, it's never good to have them miss any time," Polian said as Colts players and coaches arrived at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Sunday afternoon.
"It's all valuable, so we're happy we got it done. Sometimes, you do. Sometimes, you don't. The last couple of years, we've been able to get it done, and that's a positive."
Jim Caldwell, entering his first season as the Colts' head coach, said having all eight draft selections and all 80 roster players present "is a big plus."
"When you get an opportunity to get everybody together, and you start as one team – we're looking forward to that," Caldwell said.
Also intact is the Colts' coaching staff, which will include for a 12th consecutive season Tom Moore and Howard Mudd, who retired from their respective positions as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach during May over concerns with the NFL's pension program.
They have returned with new titles and similar roles, with Moore serving as senior offensive coordinator and Mudd serving as senior offensive line coach.
"It will be good for us," offensive lineman Charlie Johnson said. "To have those guys – Howard and Tom, with as much experience as they have – it can't hurt."
Said Colts center and three-time Pro Bowl selection Jeff Saturday, "It think its huge. Howard and Tom both bring so much experience. Both of those guys have so much knowledge of the game. We've been so successful as a group with them that they just bring a level of expectations. We've won big games, we've won championships with these guys.
"I think they can call guys out and get guys ready to play."
And while Mudd and Moore will be in their former roles, Caldwell will not. He will enter his first season as a head coach since 2000, and his first as an NFL head coach after spending the last seven seasons as a Colts assistant under head coach Tony Dungy.
"We've got a lot of eager guys coming in," Caldwell said. "I asked them, 'Don't you wish we were practicing today?' They weren't as happy as I was, but you could tell they were still looking forward to it."
Caldwell addressed the team in a mid-afternoon team meeting, and he was asked earlier in the afternoon the theme of his message.
"Overall, it's improvement," Caldwell said. "That's the thing we're looking to do. It's just important that we take on this task right now. It's not like this journey began today. It actually started in March when we got together. We started focusing in on the offseason program, but this is certainly a very, very important part of it, this time of year. We get an opportunity to put the pads on. You can do a great evaluation on our squad and make some improvements in some areas where we need to work."
Caldwell said while driving to Terre Haute Sunday he received a text message from Dungy.
"He probably had it timed out pretty well," Caldwell said. "He knows the routine. He said I'll miss you guys. He wished us well, and that was about it."
Caldwell also said entering his first camp he feels no pressure replacing Dungy, who coached the Colts to playoff appearances each of the past seven seasons and a Super Bowl XLI victory following the 2006 season.
"I don't get that feeling, that sense, because of the fact that he's a great person to emulate," Caldwell said. "He's been great for the organization and the program. He's a Hall of Famer. He has won so many ballgames and directed so many great teams that he's going get attention. I'm going to get compared a lot."