INDIANAPOLIS – On Sunday under crystal clear skies, the Colts concluded a three-day, five-practice rookie camp that served as an introduction to newcomers hoping to have a professional football future in Indianapolis.
The Colts' 10 draftees were on hand with about 30 other players hoping to get a specific idea of the culture involved in playing in Indianapolis.
Head Coach Chuck Pagano and his staff hit the players with an introductory meeting on Thursday night, and followed up the instruction with two practices on Friday and Saturday before winding up the process on Sunday.
It was a labor-intensive indoctrination to give prospects an idea of the playbook, conditioning and off-the-field basics that are necessary in moving from the collegiate to professional level.
"(We) threw a ton at these guys in a short period of time, when you think about the volume of offensive information they got, defensive information, special teams (instruction)," said Pagano. "It was a great opportunity for all these guys to get together, get to know each other, players learning players, coaches learning players. I felt like…they did a great job."
Indianapolis will welcome the majority of the prospects back to go through organized team activities (OTAs) that start soon. The full roster will undergo a mandatory mini-camp from June 12-14 before breaking for the summer. Training camp will start near the end of July.
Quarterback Andrew Luck worked extensively during the practice sessions alongside his new teammates. His last snap on Sunday ended with the result that would please Colts fans this fall. Luck fired a touchdown pass in the red zone to conclude the weekend on a high note.
"It is always nice to get in the red zone," said Luck. "Coach (Bruce) Arians said that, I think, 86 percent of games in the NFL come down to four points. That is the difference between a touchdown and a field goal, so it is always nice to work on the red zone.
"(It is) fun to score some touchdowns, and not so fun to throw interceptions down there. (I am) glad we could stay away from that. I thought it was a good way to finish (the rookie camp)."
Luck and the other participants were hit with a large volume of information, and the process of absorbing as much detail as possible had heads spinning as players began deciphering playbooks while trying to execute on the field under the instruction of the coaches. Luck felt he made progress.
"Leaps and bounds," said Luck of the progress he felt he made. "The chance to get practice reps is huge, and to get on the field, get all of the reps and put something on film that you can go back to and have it start clicking. I think leaps and bounds."
The majority of the rookies returning to Indianapolis in the subsequent days for OTAs will not include the club's top draft pick. Luck will not be able to attend until June 8, one day after his Stanford class graduates. He will be on hand for the mandatory mini-camp.
It will be difficult for Luck not to work with teammates in Indianapolis until then, but he can find ways to hook up with them for work at other locations.
"It is tough," said Luck of not being able to work at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "I think it is very tough. We are going to have to find ways, legally, to get work in with the guys and start building those relationships with the veterans who can't be here at this mini-camp. As a rookie quarterback, I wish it would be easier to get out here and to do this stuff, but it is the way it is. Everybody has got to do it. Do it within the rules, and find a way around it.
"There have been talks. I know that Austin (Collie) is from Sacramento, California. (I will) probably go to Reggie (Wayne) in Miami somehow and (find a way) with Donnie (Avery), Quan (Cosby) and all of the guys."
Luck will return to his campus to finish up academic work on an architectural degree. Football is distracting, but he will endure the rigors.
"Yeah, a little bit," Luck said on if it is tough to be motivated to finish his studies. "I have a job now. This is my job. This is what I love to do, and I want to devote 100 percent of my time right now to being the best football player I can be and the best quarterback for this team. I realize that I'm not going to let three-and-a-half years of school go to waste right now. I am going to try to finish strong and go from there."
Coaches gave parting messages to all players, though most will not be away for the next month. The hope is that rookies will be steadfast in playbook study while not neglecting the physical training aspects of the game.
Rookie tight end Coby Fleener shared the messages relayed by the coaches.
"Keep your head in the (playbook)," said Fleener. "Make sure you are not sitting around doing nothing and playing video games. Make sure you are staying around football."