HAPPY TO BE BACK

Out with a calf injury, second-year linebacker Clint Session went to the preseason opener, but said he couldn't bear to attend the second preseason game. He returned to practice this week and Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said Session is continuing to make strides toward contributing this season.

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Two Games to Many to Miss in Preseason, Session Says
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Clint Session tried.

But considering the circumstances – how much he wanted to play football, how much he felt as if he needed to be playing – the Colts' second-year outside linebacker said watching a game in person when his teammates were playing was just too hard.

Session, who at the time was out with a calf injury from which he returned this week, attended the Colts' preseason opener, a 30-16 loss to the Washington Redskins in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

But this past week, he said he just couldn't.

"I went to the first game over in Ohio," Session said Tuesday between a pair of 2008 Colts Training Camp practices at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

"This last game just past, I couldn't make the trip. It's too hard to be on that sideline not playing, so I stayed home and watched the game on television. If God keeps me healthy, I'll be out there this week and get a chance to make some plays."

Session, a second-year veteran from the University of Pittsburgh, did more than return to practice on Tuesday, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said.

He returned with the work ethic and determination that Dungy said has enabled Session to develop into a player who this season has the potential to make a large contribution to one of the NFL's top young defenses.

"He's really doing fine," Dungy said. "We shifted him over to the strong side and he has made a very, very good adjustment. He's learning as we go and playing a lot more fundamentally sound than last year. He's going to be a good player for us.

"I think for any young guy it's tough in training camp, not being there. I remember that situation myself (as a player in the late 1970s). Then, you take an aggressive guy like that, a guy who really loves to play and loves to hit. He misses his contact time.

"But he's done a good job of staying in the rehab schedule and staying with our trainers. I think he probably got back a little faster than maybe we would have thought."

Said Session, "I have a good feel for what the coaches expect out of me. When that meets up with the way I play and what I can bring to the team, we'll pull this thing out. We're in this thing together. A lot of the older veteran guys are depending on me to make plays and be in the right spot at the right time. I have to do that.

"I definitely feel good. Thank God I'm healthy."

Session, a fourth-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, started one of 13 games last season, finishing the season with 23 tackles, 16 solos. He had two interceptions, and also forced a fumble, and with an injury to starter Tyjuan Hagler, he was working with the starting unit early in camp.

But when a slew of injuries hit the linebacker position, Session was among those who missed time early. This week, he returned to practice with the idea of not only practicing, but making up for time missed.

"There's still a lot of game shape I want to get into," Session said. "A lot of these guys on our team have a couple of games ahead of me. They're probably going to be in better shape than I am. Me and a couple of other guys stayed after practice to get some extra running in. You don't ever want to give up to your opponent, because you weren't in shape.

"Right now, I'm still learning and learning and learning. If things go well, I'll get a blessing. I'll play great and be a factor on our defense."

And while the time missed was valuable, Session said it shouldn't necessarily hurt his preparations in terms of being ready for the season.

"It's football," he said. "It shouldn't be a problem. We have great coaches who coach you where you're supposed to be in any situation. You should be able to just jump in there to play good football."

Session when he jumped in this week he did so as more than a player with an opunity to return from an injury. He said he did so as one with a new appreciation for something that's not always too simple to appreciate.

"I was so excited out there," Session said. "Everybody always wants to complain about camp and even I complain about camp. The thing is, if you aren't out there, you're missing a lot.

"It feels so good to be out there."

In other Colts news, cornerback Michael Coe (knee) and linebacker Dedrick Harrington were placed on the waived/injured list. Coe has undergone season-ending knee surgery.

"We looked at it and wanted to hold off as long as we could," Dungy said of Coe. "Realistically, he's going to be two months into the season. Going with two guys didn't seem feasible. We had some injuries at some other spots we needed to shore up.

"It's tough for Mike, because he did a great job rehabbing his shoulder. He was doing well and it was kind of a freak injury that ruined his year. He'll bounce back."

Also, while safety Bob Sanders and defensive end Dwight Freeney could possibly return to practice this week, Dungy said a more likely target date is next week.

"They could get some at the end of the week," Dungy said. "My sense is we'll probably hold them until the start of next week. They're lobbying hard for it."

Of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Dungy said, "He's doing fine, on course. He's moving better and doing a lot of rehab work. I'm not sure exactly when he'll start practicing, but he's doing fine."

Manning has been out since the beginning of training camp after undergoing surgery to remove an infected bursa sac from his left knee.

Dungy also said running back Kenton Keith (hip) missed practice and running back Clifton Dawson – waived late last week – was re-signed and practiced Tuesday. Linebacker Philip Wheeler (knee) is off crutches and he may return to practice next week or the final week of the preseason when the Colts play Cincinnati, Dungy said.

The Colts also claimed linebacker Marcus Richardson off waivers from Houston.

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