Colts Rookies Gather for Rookie Minicamp at Practice Facility
INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Dungy delivered the message first thing.
This was Friday morning, as the Colts' 2008 NFL Draft selections and rookie free agents gathered for their first official meeting of their NFL lives.
Dungy, in his seventh season as the Colts' head coach, addressed the group around 9 a.m., delivering a message he said he essentially has delivered each year around this time.
That is, that all rookies are equal now.
And all have an equal chance to make the roster.
"That's usually my topic every year at this time, to just let guys know how we do things," Dungy said Friday afternoon, shortly after the first practice in the Colts' annual three-day rookie minicamp at the team's practice facility.
"We have a coaching staff that's great from that standpoint. Our administration is great that way. We feel like we have to continue to bring new people in to help us win and it really doesn't matter if they're from a big school or a small school. It doesn't matter once you get here if you were a number one pick or a free agent, everybody gets the same opunity.
"Hopefully, they'll advantage of it. I think we'll have a group that will."
The Colts this past Saturday used their lone first-day selection to take Arizona State guard/center Mike Pollak in the second round, then selected eight players the following day: Georgia Tech inside linebacker Philip Wheeler (third round), Kentucky tight end Jacob Tamme (fourth), Georgia defensive end Marcus Howard (fifth), Virginia tight end Tom Santi (sixth), Wake Forest center Steve Justice (sixth), Michigan running back Mike Hart (sixth) and Mount Union wide receiver Pierre Garcon (sixth) and Buffalo center Jamey Richard (seventh).
This past week, they signed the following 13 free agents:
Rudy Burgess, wide receiver, Arizona State; Dan Davis, defensive tackle, Connecticut; Charles Dillon, wide receiver, Washington State; Colin Ferrell, defensive tackle, Kent State; Brandon Foster, defensive back, Texas; Eric Foster, defensive tackle, Rutgers; Sam Giguere, wide receiver, Sherbrooke (Can.) College; Curtis Johnson, defensive end, Clark College; Darren Marquez, offensive tackle, Southern Illinois; Jordan Senn, linebacker, Portland State; Jamie Silva, defensive back, Boston College; Chad Simpson, running back, Morgan State; and Adam Tafralis, quarterback, San Jose State.
Afterward, several rookies talked of a sense of awe meeting players such as quarterback Peyton Manning, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection. The Colts' veterans were in the off-season conditioning program during the week, but most won't be at the facility over the weekend, Dungy said.
"It was nice to get our guys in and get a chance to meet them and get them acclimated to what we're going to do," Dungy said. "That's what today was all about and pretty much this weekend for our young guys – get them introduced to our concepts, our techniques, and make it a learning experience for them.
"From what I can see, it looks like we have a pretty smart group, a group that's going to work hard and catch on well. It was fun. It's nice to have your guys in and out them all together.
"We're off to a good start."