New Linebacker Nate Irving Ready For Training Camp, Making Colts Debut

Intro: The rehabilitation of Nate Irving’s ACL injury is coming to a close. When does the new Colts linebacker expect to return to the field?

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INDIANAPOLIS – For Nate Irving, this time of the NFL offseason is anything but off.

Normally, a new free agent would spend this month and a half back where they call home, possibly finalizing a complete move to their new city.

After four seasons with the Denver Broncos, Irving's second NFL stop now comes in Indianapolis.

So this time period should be about a transition. Instead, it's all about rehab.

Irving's ACL rehab from a 2014 mid-season injury is in its final stages, with a target return date falling very close to the Colts kicking off Training Camp in Anderson.

"He's ahead of schedule as far as the rehab goes," Chuck Pagano said of Irving at the close of the Colts mini-camp. "He'll stay here the entire time and continue his rehabilitation process. The docs and the trainers are optimistic that there's a possibility that by August 1 he might be ready to get back in the fold and do some things, but it's not 100 percent.

"From a competitive standpoint, we got a good football player. He's played quality downs in this league. When he does get back, he's just going to add to that."

Pagano said back at the League Meetings in March that Irving would compete for a starting inside linebacker job, when healthy.

Hearing such a comment frustrates Irving, the competitor, even more, knowing his only reps this offseason had to come in mental situations.

At the Lucas Oil mini-camp practice, Irving was in the middle of the defensive fray, following linebackers coach Jeff Fitzgerald around when he would address starters D'Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman.

Irving knows the long-term reasoning for being relegated to mental reps the past few months.

"I have to remember that there's so much more I have to do, so I have to pull myself back in from being too anxious and thinking too far ahead," Irving says.

"I don't want to go out there and be slopping through it and guys are like, 'Ew, why did we even bring this guy here?' I want to go out there with my best so I can do my best and they can see what I can do."

Pagano believes that will come in August, when the Colts spend two weeks in Anderson.

Ask Irving about returning in August and the linebacker doesn't hold back.

"Hell yeah, I'll be ready."

A behind the scenes look at Nate's 2015 photo shoot in the #ColtsPhotoGarage.

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