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NFL Team Report - Indianapolis Colts - INSIDE SLANT
Three weeks of OTA practices later, the Indianapolis Colts head into their three-day mandatory minicamp with a specific goal in mind.
Head coach Chuck Pagano said cleaning up mistakes now is the only way to ensure the Colts can hit the ground running when training camp starts at Anderson (Ind.) University on July 23.
"We've made great progress (during OTAs). We want to finish this minicamp by cleaning things up and I'd like to finish strong going into training camp," Pagano said Tuesday. "I'm pleased with the work that we got done (Tuesday).
"We've got some things to clean up and we've got a long way to go. But we feel like that as a staff that we're much farther ahead than we've ever been (at this point in the offseason)."
There were no major absences from the Colts' practice facility when minicamp started, although several players -- guard Donald Thomas, running back Vick Ballard, wide receiver Reggie Wayne, safety Delano Howell and cornerback Vontae Davis -- watched from the sideline amid ongoing injury rehabilitation.
Defensive end Cory Redding was excused for the first day of minicamp in order to take care of a family matter. And safety LaRon Landry, who did not take part in the OTA workouts, was undergoing a physical when the workouts began.
"We've got the NFL (game) officials here this week to go along with the local (referees) that come out every day. We want to clean up all the little things. We want to eliminate turnovers. Eliminate penalties," Pagano emphasized.
"Keep growing as a unit on both sides of the football and on special teams. Keep working on the fundamentals, technique, throwing, catching, blocking. All the things that we can do under the guidelines of the CBA."
The minicamp was the first Colts workout for recently signed safety Michael Adams. It also allowed a former Indianapolis defensive lineman, nose tackle Brandon McKinney, another chance to make the regular-season roster.
Adams, who has played for several NFL teams, including Denver last season, was signed last weekend.
"All Mike wanted was an opportunity," the Colts coach said. "When I was talking to him on the phone (before he signed), when he was trying to make a decision, he said, 'Coach, I don't want to be handed anything. I don't want you to give me anything. All I want is a fair shot. I just want an opportunity.' I said, 'Well, we've done that before ... welcome to the Colts.'"
McKinney, who has missed the last two seasons as he recovered from a serious knee injury, arrived Monday and was invited to go through minicamp as a tryout prospect. He was previously with the team in 2012.
NFL Team Report - Indianapolis Colts - NOTES, QUOTES
--Safety LaRon Landry is not expected to practice during the team's minicamp. Landry did not take part in OTAs as he worked out on his own in Arizona. According to general manager Ryan Grigson, the hard-hitting safety is bothered by a "soft-tissue" injury. He did not elaborate.
--Rookie wide receiver Donte Moncrief had a nice day of minicamp practice. Moncrief, the Colts' third-round draft pick this past spring, has been improving his timing with quarterback Andrew Luck.
He saw some work with the first-team offense during Wednesday's session.
--Former Colts tight end Dallas Clark formally announced his retirement from the NFL Wednesday during a late morning press conference at the team's headquarters. Clark was the Colts' first-round draft pick in 2003 and played with the team until 2011. He spent the last two seasons with Tampa Bay and Baltimore.
Team owner Jim Irsay introduced Clark at the start of his retirement press conference.
"Dallas always had the courage to go over the middle. Took some of the toughest hits. Created greatness for us," Irsay related. "(Clark) was such a playful person, a child at heart. A joy to be around. And (he) had so much courage.
"A great football player. Elevated (the) horseshoe to another level."
Clark gave an emotional 25-minute talk during the press conference. He thanked Irsay, the team's fans, former teammates and coaches, Colts front office and support staff and the athletic training staff.
"Your heart really does bleed blue. You changed my life when you drafted me. You're the definition of what the horseshoe means," he told Irsay. "(The) fans need to be thanked. They're the best. Nothing better than seeing Colts fans after a win. Even after a loss, they'd have our back."
His thanks also extended to former Colts general manager and team president Bill Polian.
"He saw something (in me) and I didn't. They saw something more, bigger in me, than I saw in myself," Clark said.
Clark joked that he hated former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore when he first arrived in Indianapolis.
"I think him and (former offensive line coach) Howard (Mudd) drew straws on who's getting Dallas today," he laughed. "Later on you thank Tom Moore and Howard Mudd. Their job is to make you the best player you can be. Those guys did it."
The former Iowa standout was especially effusive when he talked about his relationships with a core group of players, including Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Robert Mathis.
"We were very blessed. When you have 52 men in the locker room giving their all for one goal, that's special," Clark said. "After leaving the Colts, you realize not everyone 'gets it.' Such a great group of men that has helped shaped me into the man I am today."
Clark spoke of his close relationship with Wayne.
"Having Reggie here, I think (he) knows it but he's a guy I admired so much," he said. "Just watching him work. There's not a receiver that does what he does. He's unique. He's special. Thank you so much. I was hanging on to your coat tails."
He broke down while talking about playing with Manning.
"I gotta thank Peyton. It's just something about that man that really showed you how the game of football was supposed to be played," Clark voiced. "(He showed) the importance of being accountable."
Clark closed out his press conference by talking about the nine seasons that he spent in Indianapolis.
"I'm a Colt. And I'm very lucky to say that," he said.
So what's ahead for the former Pro Bowl tight end? Clark said that he isn't sure of his immediate plans, other than spending a lot of time with his family in Iowa this summer.
He does plan to return to Indianapolis in the fall, where he and his family will reside.
"We like it here. We always have," Clark said.
NFL Team Report - Indianapolis Colts - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
The Colts placed safety Corey Lynch on injured reserve Friday with an undisclosed injury.
The Colts signed Lynch as a free agent in November 2013. In five games with Indianapolis last season, Lynch had six special teams tackles. He played the first three games of the season with the Tennessee Titans. The Titans released him on Nov. 22.
Lynch has 119 tackles (92 solo), 15 pass breakups, five interceptions and one fumble recovery in 76 games played (12 starts) over his career. He was a sixth-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008.
Lynch was a candidate to replace Antoine Bethea, who signed a free-agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this offseason.
A closer look at the Colts picks:
Round 2/56 -- Jack Mewhort, G, 6-6, 309, Ohio State
--While some observers viewed the selection of Mewhort in the second round as a bit of a reach, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano have liked him for the last several months, especially after watching him at the Senior Bowl. He is expected to see work inside as an offensive guard after playing offensive tackle for the Buckeyes.
Round 3/90 -- Donte Moncrief, WR, 6-2, 224, Mississippi
--Indianapolis filled a need for a big, strong, physical receiver with speed to get downfield with the addition of Moncrief. The former Ole Miss standout should give the Colts much-needed depth at the position. Viewed as a diamond in the rough, Moncrief left college after his junior season. He has a big upside in terms of being a player who will grow with the Colts offense.
Round 5/166 -- Jonathan Newsome, OLB, 6-3, 236, Ball State
--The Colts added a local college prospect by drafting Newsome, a versatile athlete who played both defensive end and outside linebacker for Ball State. He is expected to be used primarily as an outside linebacker in Indianapolis' 3-4 hybrid defensive package. Newsome has pass-rushing ability, showing good quickness to come off the edge.
Round 6/203 -- Andrew Jackson, ILB, 6-1, 254, Western Kentucky
--A hard-nosed prospect who attended the same high school as former Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowler Ray Lewis. A former second-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection. Played well against major school competition for the Hilltoppers. Viewed largely as a work in progress, Jackson could be a nice addition to the special teams coverage unit as a rookie.
Round 7/232 -- Ulrick John, T, 6-5, 290, Georgia State
--Honorable mention All-Sun Belt Conference selection as a senior. A two-year starter for Georgia State. Runs well for an offensive lineman. Somewhat of a project, but John fits the type of versatile offensive lineman the Colts like. Can play outside as a tackle, but might be able to move inside to guard and center. Saw some work at center in college. Needs to get stronger and work on his physicality.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--ILB Scott Lutrus has battled injuries over the last two seasons. Lutrus has impressed the coaching staff in practice situations but hasn't been able to stay healthy enough to show what he can do in games. May not return in 2014.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--ILB Pat Angerer (not tendered as UFA).
--WR Deion Branch (not tendered as UFA).
--NT Aubrayo Franklin (not tendered as UFA).
--LB Lawrence Sidbury (not tendered as UFA).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
--DT Jeris Pendleton (tendered at $495,000) did a nice job in a backup role last season. He played in the final regular-season game and then in both playoff contests. Pendleton showed good quickness for a big man. Might return in 2014.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--G Jack Mewhort (2/59): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--WR Donte Moncrief (3/90): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--LB Jonathan Newsome (5/166): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--LB Andrew Jackson (6/203): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--T Ulrick John (7/232): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--RB Ahmad Bradshaw: UFA; $855,000/1 yr.
--S Sergio Brown: UFA; terms unknown.
--CB Vontae Davis: UFA; $39M/4 yrs, $20M guaranteed.
--CB Josh Gordy: RFA tendered at $1.431M with no compensation; $1.431M/1 yr.
--P Pat McAfee: Potential UFA; $14.5M/5 yrs, $1M SB.
--LB Cam Johnson: Potential ERFA; $495,000/1 yr.
--G/T Joe Reitz: RFA tendered at $1.431M with no compensation; $1.431M/1 yr.
--K Adam Vinatieri: Potential UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--S Mike Adams: Not tendered as UFA by Broncos; terms unknown.
--S Colt Anderson: UFA Eagles; terms unknown.
--LB D'Qwell Jackson: FA Browns; $22/4 yrs, $11M guaranteed.
--DE Arthur Jones: UFA Ravens; $33M/5 yrs, $5.5M SB/$16M guaranteed.
--G Lance Louis: FA; $1.475M/2 yrs, $25,000 SB.
--LB Aaron Morgan: FA; $1.23M/2 yrs.
--WR Hakeem Nicks: UFA Giants; $3.975M/1 yr, $2M SB/$375,000 RB.
--G Justin Anderson (released).
--S Antoine Bethea: UFA 49ers; $26M/4 yrs.
--RB Tashard Choice (released).
--ILB Kavell Conner: UFA Chargers; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
--WR Darrius Heyward-Bey: UFA Steelers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--G/T Jeff Linkenbach: UFA Chiefs; terms unknown.
--DL Ricardo Mathews: UFA Texans; terms unknown.
--G Mike McGlynn: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
--C Samson Satele (released).
--CB Cassius Vaughn: UFA Lions; terms unknown.