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For Colts Business As Usual

Bill Polian
As far as Colts President Bill Polian is concerned, there was much to like about the off-season.  Injuries stayed at a minimum, the draft class performed to expectations, and perhaps most importantly, Polian said the team has shown no negative aftereffects of February’s Super Bowl Championship.   “It’s been business as usual,” Polian said Friday to “But that’s the way we’ve always been.  It hasn’t changed an iota from what it was a year ago.” 

Polian, who is entering his 10th season as the Colts’ President, today discussed the team’s recently completed summer-school session, along with several topics concerning the organization’s first off-season as Super Bowl champions in 36 years.  Overall, Polian said, he is “very pleased.”  “I think we did a good job working with our young people, getting them up to speed,” Polian said of the 13 days of organized team activities that concluded with a practice Wednesday at the Colts’ training facility.  Polian said while rookie cornerback Antonio Smith has a collarbone injury, veterans such as recently-acquired tight Mike Seidman, 2005 Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders and 2004-2006 Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney should be ready for training camp.  The Colts are scheduled to report to training camp at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute on July 29.  “There will be some guys who will be on one-a-day programs, but that’s just precautionary,” Polian said.  “Other than that, we’ll be ready to go.”

Polian also said the top priorities are reaching a long-term agreement with Freeney, and establishing the groundwork to sign the team’s nine selections in this past April’s 2007 NFL Draft.   “That becomes the immediate focus right now,” Polian said of Freeney, who is currently designated the team’s “franchise player”.  Polian said there may be several roster moves before training camp and said one could involve running back James Mungro, who played with the Colts from 2002-2006. He missed much of last season with a knee injury and has not yet been re-signed.  “The question is how do we structure the roster and that’s related to how we shore up the positions where we’re going to need people to take reps in training camp and the preseason,” Polian said.  “We have a number of one (practice)-a-day guys at those positions.  It’s not quite as easy as saying, ‘We’re going to re-sign James.’”

Running back, Polian said, could become a key position during camp.  Second-year veteran Joseph Addai, the leading rusher among NFL rookies last season, is expected to enter camp as the starter, with second-year veteran DeDe Dorsey, Canadian Football League veteran Kenton Keith and rookie free agent Clifton Dawson among the reserves.  Addai last season shared time at running back with veteran Dominic Rhodes, one of several veterans who signed elsewhere in the off-season as free agents.  Rhodes signed with the Oakland Raiders, with linebacker Cato June signing with Tampa Bay, cornerback Nick Harper signing with Tennessee and cornerback Jason David signing with New  Orleans.  Such departures – while unpleasant – were an expected part of the off-season, Polian said.

Many of the team’s draft selections have been participating in the team’s off-season conditioning program, and many practiced in the summer-school sessions.  Polian said while it is too early to know exactly what roles the rookies will play, they have shown early that “athletically, they are what we expected them to be.”  Polian said Friday the Colts won’t approach the 2007 as a team trying to repeat as Super Bowl champions.  Last year, he said, is over and every season is its own entity.  Colts players, Polian said, already have shown the correct approach to the coming season, dealing professionally with the slew of potential distractions.  Polian said he was “shocked – totally shocked” by the aftermath of the Super Bowl, but said the off-season approach has been steady and normal.  “(Colts Head Coach) Tony (Dungy), and to a lesser extent myself, have preached to them almost from Day One about perception and reality,” Polian said.  “I think they’ve bought into it.  They understand what is perception and what is reality.  “I think you see that reflected in how they prepare and how they go about their business.”

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