INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich on Monday spoke to reporters via video conference call. What were the top takeaways from Reich about last week's emotional team meetings centered on racial injustices, wrapping up the offseason program and much more?
You can check out the entire session above, but here are some highlights:
» Reich will "never forget" last week's team meetings focused on racial injustices, and said action is going to be taken: Reich and the Colts felt it was important to shift the focus last week from football to the pain being felt across the country, so the players and coaches spent a total of more than seven hours discussing their own emotional experiences with racial injustices and police brutality.
Those meetings were capped with a visit from Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, who, not surprisingly, was able to add his proper perspective and guidance to the team.
Reich said he told team owner Jim Irsay that last week "will be a week that this team will never forget, that there are things that happened this week that we'll never forget, that there is a closeness and how we got to know each other that we'll never forget."
Reich said because "this just isn't an issue for the black community; this is our issue as an organization," it's important to put words to action moving forward.
"This issue becomes our mission, you know, and it's our mission in this city, in this state, and it's really our mission in this nation," Reich said. "And we want to be about helping fulfill the vision for those in the black community of what it should look like to be a member of the back community. It'll involve dealing with systemic racism, doing our part to deal with that. It'll involve police brutality on the black community, dealing with that, it's going to involve presenting and creating economic opportunities and how voting can be equally accessibly for everyone.
"There's got to be action," Reich said. "And we are going to act as a team, as an organization and (are) excited to do so."
» Barring any changes, Reich laid out a tentative schedule for the next few weeks that includes a possible start for training camp: While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been an ever-evolving lesson in "expect the unexpected," Reich shared what he's hoping will be his team's plans over the next month and a half or so:
• The Colts' veterans are wrapping up the virtual offseason program this week, which started on April 20. Traditionally, the team would be holding its veteran minicamp around this time as an official end to the offseason program, but that won't be the case this year.
• Reich said he's expecting some players to "get together on their own" next week "and work on some stuff … not only on a smaller scale, but on a bigger scale, but I don't know how that's gonna play out."
• After this week, Reich is going to institute a two-week window for position coaches to have one-on-one Zoom meetings with younger players "just on an as-needed basis."
• In regards to training camp, which is being held at the team’s Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center this year as opposed to Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind., Reich said the tentative report date for rookies is July 22, while the tentative report date for veterans is July 28.
» (Officially) Welcome to Indy, Philip Rivers: The Colts formally signed free agent quarterback Philip Rivers on March 21, but the COVID-19 pandemic likely made it near-impossible for him, his wife and their nine children to immediately uproot and move to their new home in Indianapolis.
But Reich confirmed today that the Rivers family has now officially made the move to the Circle City.
"They're all here," Reich said. "They're swimming in pools in Indianapolis and making new friends and, you know, looking forward to being part of the Indianapolis community."
As for Rivers himself?
"I know he's already calling guys to throw," Reich said.
» Hiring Brian Baker as defensive line coach presented a dream scenario for Reich: Reich and Baker go way back; in fact, the two were in the same recruiting class at the University of Maryland, and both have remained close since their college days.
Baker immediately started his coaching career right out of college, while Reich had a 14-year NFL playing career at quarterback before eventually joining the coaching ranks himself.
And as Reich began to write down names of possible candidates he'd want on his staff if he were to ever become an NFL head coach, his old friend Baker was always the No. 1 target to lead his defensive line.
That scenario became reality earlier this offseason, when the Colts hired Baker to that position after the departure of Mike Phair, who was hired as the Carolina Panthers' defensive line coach.
"I cannot tell you how excited I am to have Bake on the staff," Reich said today. "Brian Baker was always my No. 1 guy for D-line. I played with him. I know who he is as a man, as a coach. I know his passion for people. I know his passion for the game. I know how he's an excellent communicator and teacher. He's phenomenal on fundamentals and technique."
Baker also worked with current Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus when the two were on the Dallas Cowboys' coaching staff together in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
"I mean, it was just an incredible opportunity to get Bake on the staff," Reich said. "It was a perfect fit, and (I'm) very excited to have him."