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A Rundown of Tuesday's Happenings at Training Camp.


A Rundown of Tuesday's Happenings at Training Camp

This past April, 255 players were drafted into the National Football League.

But there were a lot more than 255 players who were eligible for the draft.

The fact is that every NFL team has a mix of players, from drafted players to undrafted free agents. After the draft, teams comb through the hundreds of undrafted players and find ones they hope can contribute to the team.

And that process is one in which the Colts are among the NFL's best.

Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt, Jeff Saturday and Adam Vinatieri are some of the franchise's most popular players, and none heard their name called during the draft. Saturday and Vinatieri were recognized as two of the top-75 undrafted free agents to ever play in the NFL in an story earlier this year. Brackett has risen from going undrafted to the defensive captain of the Colts. Bullitt, meanwhile, has started 21 games the past two seasons and is the Colts' co-special teams captain along with Vinatieri.

Those four are just the beginning of a slew of Colts who went undrafted, but have risen to become regular contributors for the team.

Consider, the Colts 53-man roster for Super Bowl XLIV consisted of 19 players who were undrafted, and in 2009, the Colts had seven regular contributors in addition to Brackett, Bullitt, Saturday and Vinatieri who entered the league as undrafted free agents.

Jacob Lacey had 78 tackles and three interceptions last season, and his nine starts were the most of all undrafted rookies in 2009. Dan Muir (10 starts) and Eric Foster (five starts) were part of a defensive line that allowed only 10 rushing touchdowns all season. Ramon Humber and Jamie Silva were special teams standouts for the Colts, finishing first and second in special teams tackles with 17 and 15, respectively. And Kyle DeVan started the final nine games of the season at right guard while Gijon Robinson started 10 games in the H-Back role.

This season, the Colts have 16 undrafted rookies in camp trying to make the team. They come from a variety of different backgrounds. KR-Brandon James won two BCS National Championships at Florida, while OT-Andrew Tyshovnytsky (Fordham) and DB-David Caldwell (William & Mary) played at the Division 1-FCS level. LB-Vuna Tuihalamaka (Arizona) and OT-Chris Marinelli (Stanford) played on the West Coast in the Pac-10, while DB-Jordan Hemby (North Carolina) and RB-Javarris James (Miami Fla.) played on the East Coast in the ACC.

No matter where they come from, the players are all looking for the same thing, a chance to show that they belong.

The Colts will give them that opportunity.

There were numerous candidates for play of the day: a one-handed grab from Sam Giguere on a Curtis Painter pass as Giguere tip-toed on the sideline in the endzone, or Austin Collie taking the ball away from Deshea Townsend in the endzone to turn a possible interception into a touchdown. But the nod for play of the day goes to fans who packed the bleachers at Anderson University Tuesday despite a heat index that rose above 100 degrees, and in particular a young fan who was called onto the field by Peyton Manning. Manning taught the youngster a fly route, then Manning hit him for a 15-yard touchdown pass that led to a loud roar from the crowd.

The Colts were wire-to-wire AFC South division leaders during the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons.

"That's something that we don't focus in on. We've been pretty good overall, as a team, in terms of compartmentalizing things. From week-to-week and from game-to-game, oftentimes you'll see that our team has the ability to adjust and to not get caught up in what happened last week. I think you'll find the same thing holds true for the previous year. I think a lot of people want to put labels on you about your windows closing and all these kinds of things, but the fact of the matter is I think if you really focus in on what you have to do to get better, I think our team is very mature in that regard. We don't anticipate any lingering effects." – Caldwell on the team not focusing on last year.

"The guys are great, and that was a huge part of the decision here. It is very welcoming. It is not, 'Oh, you're a rookie,' or anything like that. They want the best guys to play and their secret to success isn't really that big of a secret. They do things right." – DE-John Chick on how his teammates have received him.

"One thing around here, I know you've seen all the highlights on the rookie hazing and the haircuts and all of that, we just don't do that around here. We don't really treat those guys like rookies. We expect those guys to play for us this year and to play well. I think we are probably not very patient. We don't cut them a whole lot of slack. If they are on the team, we expect them to know the offense and be in there. That's why we treat them all like veterans." – QB-Peyton Manning on the team's treatment of its rookies.

The Colts held two practices on Tuesday. The first began at 9:30 a.m. and ended around 10:30 a.m. The second practice opened at 3:30 p.m. and ran two hours. Wednesday's schedule calls for two practices with the first beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the second one beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The weather in Anderson on Tuesday was partly sunny and humid with a high of 90 degrees according to Wednesday's forecast calls for possible isolated thunderstorms and a high of 86 degrees.

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