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5 Takeaways From Chris Ballard's Pre-Training Camp Press Conference: Eric Fisher On Track, Marlon Mack Cleared, Frank Reich 'Feeling Good'

Colts general manager Chris Ballard met with the media Monday ahead of the start of training camp at Grand Park this week. Here are five takeaways from what Ballard had to say. 

Coach Frank Reich is "feeling good" after testing positive for COVID-19.

Reich, who is fully vaccinated, is asymptomatic and isolating away from Grand Park in Westfield, where training camp kicks off Wednesday morning. He'll remain plugged in with the team while isolating, though.

"Frank's still a part of it," Ballard said. "With everything we learned a year ago with Zoom, he's still involved. He's in meetings through Zoom, he'll be in team meetings through Zoom, he's in contact with the coaches, we have staff meetings every morning and he's in constant contact with everybody. We just keep moving forward."

The Colts will not appoint an interim coach in Reich's absence and Ballard did not offer a timeline on when the fourth-year coach can return to the team.

"We're going to be careful, we're going to be safe. When he's back, he's back," Ballard said. "But the good news is he doesn't have any symptoms, he's feeling good and when you hear some of the stories about people who are not vaccinated and who are getting sick, the difference is dramatic between the two."

Fisher, Odeyingbo on track

The Colts on Sunday placed left tackle Eric Fisher on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list and defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo on the Active/Non-Football Injury list, but those moves hardly pointed to anything sinister with their respective Achilles' injury rehab processes.

(The difference in designation: Fisher was placed on PUP because his injury happened during an NFL game; Odeyingbo went on NFI because he suffered his injury outside of an NFL game/practice — it happened while he was training for the NFL Draft in January.)

"Both doing well, both rehabbing really well," Ballard said. "No timeline on either one of them. We're encouraged about where they're at and where they're going. They're working really hard. We'll let it play out as it goes."

Ballard added on Fisher that "physically he's doing well."

Green lights for Campbell, Mack, Turay

There will be no restrictions on three notable players entering training camp: Wide receiver Parris Campbell, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 2 of the 2020 season; running back Marlon Mack, who suffered a season-ending Achilles' injury in Week 1; and defensive end Kemoko Turay, who underwent a procedure on his ankle this offseason.

"We'll monitor them during camp but they're good to go," Ballard said.

Meanwhile, linebacker Darius Leonard underwent a procedure on his ankle and will be held back early in camp. Ballard said the procedure was "nothing major" and added he's not concerned about the All-Pro linebacker's readiness for the season.

"He's a vet going into his fourth year, he knows how to play, he'll be ready," Ballard said. "Darius works, he's in great shape right now but we'll monitor him as we go forward."

Defensive tackle Rob Windsor, who was placed on injured reserve Sunday, will miss the 2021 season due to a hip injury, Ballard said.

Competitions to watch

Ballard threw out a few positions where he's excited to see competitions arise over the next few weeks: Defensive end, backup defensive tackle, left tackle (while Fisher is out) and offensive line depth.

He added that wide receiver could be a sneakily competitive position group at Grand Park, too.

"Interesting battles at wideout, more than people realize," Ballard said. "We've got some good, young players, will be good for everybody to see this young, talented group we have."

And there will be a kicking competition, too, with Eddy Pineiro — who most recently kicked for the Chicago Bears in 2019 — pushing Rodrigo Blankenship as he enters his second year in the NFL.

"Rod had a great year last year, but iron sharpens iron and Eddy's talented," Ballard said. "Eddy Pineiro's very talented. That'll be fun to watch. I think they'll make each other better."

A Grand re-opening

The Colts will hold 19 practices open to the public at Grand Park in July and August, which will provide fans plenty of opportunities to get to know the 2021 team before the regular season kicks off at Lucas Oil Stadium Sept. 12 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ballard talked Monday about the importance the Colts place on getting up to Grand Park and inviting fans to come watch practices.

"That's why we still do training camp," Ballard said. "That's one of the things me and Mr. Irsay talked about when I first took the job here, going to training camp, being able to connect, being able to let your fans be a part of the process, see practice, be open — that's important to both of us, it's important to Frank. It's just tremendous to be back out here. City of Westfield, what they do, Grand Park — this place is phenomenal."

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