INDIANAPOLIS — What a day.
With the sun still rising and the birds chirping in central Indiana Saturday morning, the Indianapolis Colts veterans, one by one, began pouring in through the security gates at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for the start of training camp.
For the first time in the team's history in Indy, the Colts this year are holding most of their training camp at their team headquarters, as they aim to take advantage of their own facilities — rain or shine — along West 56th Street.
And, of course, not lost in Saturday's festivities was that annual "first day of school" feeling for the Colts players, who showed off their rides and their freshest outfits (and backpacks) before heading inside to greet their teammates, many of whom they had not seen for more than a month since the conclusion of the team's offseason workout program.
They'll be seeing a whole lot of each other for the next four-plus months, however.
So while we wait for the team's first official training camp practice — which you can go see by heading to Lucas Oil Stadium early this afternoon — let's check out what the Colts players and coaches had to say about getting back to it for the official start of the 2017 season.
• "I just wanted to pull up in style, and give a tribute to the great Reggie Wayne. It's training camp, and everybody is excited, fans are excited, and shout out to Reggie Wayne." — Colts cornerback Vontae Davis, on pulling into the team facility Friday morning in style in a "Colts blue" Polaris Slingshot, a la Reggie Wayne, who became known for his dramatic training camp entrances during his legendary career in Indy.
• "There is a freak-out? I would say that there's no reason to freak out. I will be better than I was coming into this. I'll be better coming out of it. I know that. I don't know what day it's going to be. I don't know what week. I don't know when it's going to be, but I definitely will be. And there's no reason to freak out. And on that note, football is the greatest team game in the world. No one person is bigger than the team, and I've always felt that. And I know we've got a solid, solid team that's forming at this complex, and so no reason to freak out." — Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, assuring fans that his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery is going just fine. Luck begins training camp on the PUP list.
• "For me personally, I just take it a day at a time. If you start looking at the light at the end of the tunnel, it's a long way out there. Just do it one day at a time. Not comparing ourselves to the (Navy) Seals at all by any means, but those guys say, 'I don't look at what I'm going to do tomorrow. I look at what I'm going to do today, the next hour and try to get through this and try to get through the next one.'" — Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who officially began his 22nd NFL training camp on Saturday.
• "You know, camp, there is relief with the offensive line you're going through and you're out there in shorts and underwear and running around. It's really hard to evaluate guys at that time. So now is the time of year we will get the chance to do that. So going into camp there is, we are going to get the best five onto the field so there really is not anything solidified at this point. You are going to see guys move around. We'll try some different combinations, but it is very important at that position, probably more so any on the field offensively or defensively, to have continuity." — Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, on the process of continuing to tweak the offensive line prior to the start of the season.
• "I have to prove myself every day – I think everybody on the team does. That is kind of the mentality that you need to take out on the practice field because you have other guys competing for the same job you are, so definitely got to prove myself." — Colts defensive tackle Henry Anderson, on his mentality entering training camp for his third NFL season.
• "I guess I am in a sense more comfortable – not too comfortable, never too comfortable, but more comfortable in a sense where I understand where things are going to be and how things are going to work." — Colts running back Robert Turbin, on the difference between this year's training camp and last year's, his first with the team.
• "Well, we've got to get to work, first and foremost. I think we put in some good work during OTAs and getting to know the playbook. A lot of guys are brand new so we're communicating within the group trying to get all the checks and all the audibles down. There is a lot to I, but I think we had a good start and it's just building off that day by day here." — Colts outside linebacker John Simon, on what he expects from the re-built Indy defense.
• "Yeah, for sure. I mean you're excited about the opportunity there's no question. But like I said, at the same time, it really shouldn't change your approach too much. I tell all the rookies coming in too, as a quarterback, you try to prepare like a starter. It's only going to help you in the long run." — Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien, on opening training camp with the first-team reps for the first time in his career as Luck continues his shoulder rehab.
• "I think there is uncertainty no matter what in football so you can't really focus on that. You just have a daily approach of making sure for myself to do what I'm supposed to do to help the team in whatever way that is. Guys are going to get healthy and they're going to get back into the mix and there is going to be more competition." — Colts safety Matthias Farley, on the "uncertainty" heading into camp with injuries and new players in the secondary.
• "We have to bring back toughness and excitement. Give fans what they want to see." — Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers, on what he wants to bring to the team in his second year in the NFL.
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