Indianapolis Colts to Hold Training Camp at Anderson University
The Indianapolis Colts will return to their summer home of 15 years when they open 2010 training camp at Anderson University on Sunday, August 1. At a press conference Thursday morning, officials of the Indianapolis Colts, Anderson University and the City of Anderson agreed that it was time for the Colts to return to Anderson.
"It is a great pleasure for me to be here and to officially announce that the Colts will have training camp here at Anderson University," Colts President Bill Polian said. "As I was driving up today, I recalled a drive that I took 13 years ago to come here to training camp, my first training camp as a Colt, and I brought along someone who was attending his first training camp, No. 18, Quarterback Peyton Manning. As we drove up in the car, we discussed our hopes and dreams for the future of the Colts, and obviously lots of them came true over those 13 years."
The Colts selected Anderson as their summer home in 1984, the club's inaugural season in Indianapolis. The club trained in Anderson through the 1998 preseason. The full squad reports to Anderson University on August 1, and camp runs through August 18. The Colts then establish operations at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center back in Indianapolis.
"We are very excited to welcome the Indianapolis Colts back to the campus," said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. "We look forward to providing our AU hospitality and that of our entire community to the premier NFL franchise. Our sincere thanks to many persons in Anderson who worked to bring about this day."
The 2010 training camp will be located around the Kardatzke Wellness Center/Macholtz Stadium complex located in the northeast section of the university campus. The camp can be accessed by the public via University Boulevard and 5th Street. Campus signage will direct the public to available parking during the duration of the training camp at AU. The club will announce its training camp practice schedule later this spring. Entire practices will be open to the public free of charge. Anderson University will charge a parking fee for camp visitors.
"With this facility, this location, the population base in this area, it's really an ideal opportunity for lots and lots of people who are within 45 minutes drive of here to see Peyton and (Wide Receiver) Reggie (Wayne) and (Defensive End) Dwight (Freeney) and (Defensive End) Robert (Mathis) and all the great Colts they see on television every week in person," said Polian. "We look forward to it. This is a great facility. The improvements that have taken place under the leadership of Dr. Edwards over the years have made this an ideal site for us."
Polian mentioned that a training camp in Anderson will allow Colts fans to make the trip and see their heroes up close and personal. When he came to the franchise 13 years ago, Owner and CEO Jim Irsay told Polian that the fan base did not have a generation of Colts fans that grew up cheering for the franchise, that the team needed to build up to that. Polian says that generation now exists, and they are working on the next one now.
"That generation exists. All you need to do is walk around any town in Indiana and you'll see plenty of Colt jerseys and caps and things of that nature," said Polian. "Our objective now is to capture the next generation, and part of that is the ability to come to training camp and see and touch the team. That's very important. That's why we are having the open mini-camp this Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Anderson fits perfectly into that objective. The combination of locale, and what is now, thanks to all of the people who made this campus so beautiful, it makes it an ideal site for us. It's the right facility, in the right geographic area, located right among a tremendous number of our fans."
Indianapolis returns to Anderson owning the longest current NFL playoff streak, eight seasons. The Colts will be under the field leadership of Head Coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell directed the club to a 16-3 record last season, one of the most noteworthy first-year performances ever by an NFL head coach.
"All of us look forward to getting camp underway in Anderson later this summer," said Caldwell. "Training camp is such a pivotal time for any club as you try to put some finishing touches on your team. It is a time of building, bonding and honing, and we know the university and the city leaders will provide us with the best possible atmosphere to succeed."
The club's playing roster features only one player who trained with the club in Anderson, QB-Peyton Manning. Manning's 1998 rookie season was the final year for the Colts at Anderson University. Manning, a four-time Associated Press Most Valuable Player, has gone on to become one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history. He will be joined by numerous teammates who helped the club win an NFL-record 115 regular-season games in the 2000-09 decade, and the club set another league mark in 2008-09 by winning 23 consecutive regular-season games.
"There are more good things to come," said Polian. "Our focus is on the present and what we can do to get our team ready to contend again for a title this upcoming year. We're excited about the facility here. We're excited to be back in Anderson. We're excited that many, many of our fans who live nearby can come here and see the team. We look forward to coming here on August 1 and getting on with the job of trying to get back to the Super Bowl."