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Colts Recruiting Pitch Sells Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Other Veterans

Intro: When the Colts have made their recruiting pitch to free agents, a few distinct qualities have made saying ‘no’ very difficult.





INDIANAPOLIS – It's a popular opinion around NFL circles that has been backed up in early-to-mid March each of the last few offseasons.

When free agents visit the Indianapolis Colts, competitors should be worried.

A red flag could be put up when teams around the NFL hear the Colts are hosting a prospect they covet.

Veteran Trent Cole saw a flag of sorts when he heard the Colts were interested in him this offseason.

"When I heard that the Colts wanted to bring me in, that threw a flag up for me," Cole said last week after signing with the Colts. "I know about that team. I know what they can do.

"The Colts have everything to offer. They are in the Midwest (Cole is from Ohio). They have a great quarterback. They have a genuine coach. Chuck Pagano wants to win and I can tell the organization wants to win. I could feel the vibe from there. They are filling the pieces of the puzzle to the Super Bowl. I knew I was a Colt when I walked in here. I told my agent to make this thing work."

These sentiments from Cole back up what Ryan Grigson said in the early days of the 2015 offseason.**

**"I tell you, the Indianapolis Colts are an easy sell job these days, really easy," Grigson said weeks before the free agency recruiting period began.

Colts coaches and players with a University of Miami connection: Coach Chuck Pagano, Coach Rob Chudzinski, Andre Johnson and Frank Gore.

The Colts brand is one of the most enticing in the NFL.

Take Andre Johnson, for example, who has seen first hand what the Colts are about throughout his 12-year career.

When Johnson was released by the Texans a little over a week ago, only one team could satisfy his biggest want.

"Andrew Luck," Johnson said.

"I wanted to be at a place that had a stable quarterback. I feel like Andrew is arguably the best quarterback in the game."

Luck was a common denominator when prodding each new free agent acquisition about the appeal to the Colts.

Johnson might be the one catching the balls from Luck this season but the presence of No. 12 extends to the defensive side of the ball, as well.

Defensive end Kendall Langford is entering his eighth NFL season and after stops in Miami and St. Louis, he's looking forward to playing with a "stud" at quarterback.

The combination of Luck and a team trending towards yet another playoff run is the ultimate mixture for hungry veterans hoping for one last NFL stop.

Another area the Colts really benefited from this offseason was the coaching connections they have on their staff.

The University of Miami relationship speaks for itself, but Frank Gore is familiar with the Colts coaches via his new offensive coordinator, too.

Pep Hamilton was the 49ers' quarterbacks coach in 2006, when Gore rushed for his career-high. Hamilton also coached at Stanford with Greg Roman, San Francisco's offensive coordinator from 2011-2014.

Whether it's Luck, Pagano, the organization's winning reputation or other convincing factors, the Colts package is once again impressing.

"Me being in the league a long time, just watching the (Colts) each year kept growing and growing and growing, I felt before I got out of this game, I'm going to get a chance to get a championship," Gore said.

"I felt the Colts would be a better chance to get it."

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