ANDERSON – The 2012 Colts were represented by an influx of new faces, but two new ones – Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano – wanted to retain what they called "pillar" players.
Among those identified as "must keep" guys was Robert Mathis.
Mathis opened last season opposite Dwight Freeney in the club's new 3-4 hybrid defense, with Freeney, the franchise's leading all-time sacker, playing the 'rush' position in Pagano's defense.
That left Mathis on the strong side, and the pair set sail to create another season of mayhem.
It was a process of adaptation for both and with 2013 at hand, Mathis now stands alone as the NFL's top sack tandem over the past decade no longer is intact.
"It's weird. It is really weird," said Mathis of playing without Freeney. "It's something I have to get used to because for over a decade I've been right there next to his side. He's been there talking, joking.
"We formed a brotherhood, not just teammates. It's kind of weird, but something you have to get used to."
Named to five straight Pro Bowls, Mathis (91.5) is second to Freeney (107.5) in Colts sacks, and he stands to become the 30th NFL player to get 100.
While every player is aware of stats, Mathis is not as consumed with the number '100' as he is the number '3.'
"That's a secondary goal," said Mathis of reaching the century mark. "My goal is to get to New York in February. If getting five sacks or 15 sacks is what's going to get us there, then so be it."
Mathis has played in two Super Bowls – XLI and XLIV – and he covets another title shot.
It was Freeney who told Mathis that he was not being retained by Indianapolis earlier this year. It was a personal setback for Mathis. He and Freeney had formed such a tight bond that Freeney was a groomsman in Mathis' wedding.
Now, Mathis is filling Freeney's role. With this being his maiden voyage without his "partner in mayhem" – the two combined to top 20 sacks as a duo five times – some may question if Mathis will be the same flying solo.
Mathis is motivated by such speculation.
"Oh, yeah. That's kind of big chip," said Mathis. "I've had this big chip on my left shoulder that I can't seem to get off since 2003. You keep chopping the wood and keep chipping at it."
Mathis is grateful for his role of leader. He said he only was worried about a special teams role in 2003 as a ticket into the NFL. He feels "blessed" to be around so long and while this is a brotherhood still, Father Time has created a bit of separation from teammates.
"There's kind of an age gap, like 10 years or so," said Mathis. "It's more like big brother-little brother relationship. I just bring them in and show them how Colts football (is)."
PLAY OF THE DAY
Darius Butler had a red zone pick of Andrew Luck late in the workout. Luck and T.Y. Hilton combined on a long slant pass early in practice drills.
Andrew Luck led a crisply-paced practice and hit 27-of-43 passes (not counting a spike) for one touchdown. He hit Coby Fleener for a score. Luck is 49-of-77 for three TDs in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills in two days. Luck hit nine straight passes in 11-on-11 work near the end of practice. Luck hit Reggie Wayne on a checkdown play late in practice with Wayne being at least the third option, a goal of Pep Hamilton's this season.
In teamwork late in practice, Matt Hasselbeck hit Dwayne Allen from inside the 10 for a score. Allen made a deft move to get open.
Hasselbeck and Nate Palmer executed a nice fade route late in practice, and Hasselbeck on numerous occasions displayed nice touch hit running backs in drills.
Darrius Heyward-Bey had a slick reception in traffic from Luck. Justice Cunningham had a reception in traffic from Hasselbeck with Justin Hickman in tight coverage.
Greg Toler had a pass defensed, while Kavell Conner defended passes both from Luck and Hasselbeck.
Fleener had seven receptions in the p.m. drill, while Wayne had six.
NOTE OF THE DAY
Chuck Pagano said G-Hugh Thornton has an ankle sprain and will miss some time. NT-Brandon McKinney missed today's work with knee swelling. NT-Martin Tevaseu (shoulder), TE-Justice Cunningham (cramps) and DT-Montori Hughes (cramps) missed some afternoon work.
NEWS OF THE DAY
A day after Ryan Grigson said there was "pure disappointment" at the highest levels of the organization for players' mis-steps off the field, wide receiver LaVon Brazill talked about curtailing his issue with the league-imposed penalty that will keep him from the first four games.
"It was my mistake, I shouldn't have (done) that but they were still with me," said Brazill. "They said I'm a talented player, and they're going to stay with me. (I'm) just going to put this in the past and move forward. You won't hear (anymore) from me.
"I messed up. I let my teammates down and let the organization down. It's out of my life now."
The second-year receiver and 2012 draft pick will work with the Colts through camp before the suspension starts. League officials did not identify the substance matter in Brazill's situation.
PAGANO SAYS(On Robert Mathis)
"He leads by example. But, he's like E.F. Hutton. When he speaks, people listen."
PLAYER QUOTE OF THE DAY
"He makes my job a lot easier and I'm trying to make his a lot easier. I remember I looked up his stats the other day to see how many sacks was he close to, I think 100 sacks and he wasn't there yet. One of my goals was is to get him over that before he leaves NFL." – Ricky Jean Francois on Robert Mathis.
PLAYER TWEET OF THE DAY
SPOTTED AT CAMP
Colts former assistant coach/coordinator/interim head coach Rick Venturi, now retired and living in Indianapolis. Former players Barry Krauss and Jack Trudeau, who trained with club in Anderson in the 1980's and 1990's.
YESTERDAY'S TRIVIA QUIZ
The Colts will face two former Horseshoe heroes this season in battling Jim Harbaugh (San Francisco) and Bruce Arians (Arizona). The Colts faced two opposing head coaches last year with Colts coaching ties. Who were they? ANSWER: The Colts faced New England's Bill Belichick and Minnesota's Leslie Frazier last year. Belichick was on Ted Marchibroda's Colts staff in 1975 as a volunteer. Frazier was on Tony Dungy's Colts staff in 2005-06.
TODAY'S TRIVIA QUIZ
How many total coaches do the Colts have on staff? Name the new coaches this year. See the next Colts Camp Notebook for the answer(s).
TODAY'S NATIONAL COVERAGE
Kim Jones of the NFL Network was in camp for a second straight day.
AFTERNOON ATTENDANCE: 2,508. TOTAL FOR CAMP: 6,948.
The weather in Anderson on Monday was sunny and warm. The morning walk-through was held in 69-degree temperatures, while the high for the afternoon session was 75 degrees with bright sunshine. Tuesday's outlook is for mostly sunny skies with temperatures reaching the high 70's.
Tuesday's practice session open to the public is 1:50 to 4:30 p.m.