Big crowd enjoys Armed Services Day at Colts training camp
Talk upbeat about playoffs, Reggie's return to Indy Colts
By Rick Yencer
ANDERSON, INDIANA (SPORTS) - Eric and Kayla Burr brought their newborn son, Peyton on a two hour trip Sunday to see the Indianapolis Colts training camp.
And little Peyton yelled for joy when linebacker Robert Mathis took time to play with him and sign autographs.
That moment was among the many Colts players and fans enjoyed Sunday at Anderson University as hundreds filled the stands for practice and a shot at an autograph or photo.
John Thompson, an Army paratrooper and ROTC instructor for more than 20 years, also made the journey on Armed Forces Day where veterans and active military were recognized by the Colts.
Thompson, who was uniformed, did not want to miss seeing a competitive team, given the Colts had back to back playoff seasons and winning records.
The fourth day of practice had plenty of training footage from scrimmages to drills and plenty of passing by quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck said afterwards that it had been all out training as everyone was getting a workout besides mixing and matching defensive and offensive setups.
The day before, Coach Chuck Pagano felt the team was productive and improving in many ways.
But he reported running back Vick Ballard had a torn Achilles tendon and would be lost for the year.
"We feel awful for Vick," said Pagano to the media. "He's been a warrior, going down with the knee a year ago."
Both injuries were non-contact and the coach referred to it was a freak injury.
"It is unfortunate. Just like Reggie Wayne going down in Denver a year ago," he said.
Fellow running back Ahmad Bradshaw looks really good, Pagano said, while mentioning that running back Trent Richardson had a soft tissue injury.
Fans see Richardson stepping up and piling up the yards after a mid season start last year that amounted to about 2.9 yards a carry.
Bradshaw said on Saturday it was heartbreaking to see Ballard go down. But he said it did not change the game for him.
"I'm going to be full speed ahead where ever I am in there," said Bradshaw, adding that Richardson also would be there helping the offense.
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks agreed with fellow receiver T.Y. Hilton that the Colts receivers could be among the best in the NFL.
"But we got to go out here and practice hard first and take it one day at a time," he said. "Everything will take care of itself from there."
Tight end Coby Fleener, who was in Muncie last week, talked about everyone doing heir job and improving their performance on Sunday.
He was joined by offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton who talked about some new matchups and other plays in preparation for that preseason openers next month with the New York Jets.
The next big crowd pleaser at Colts training camp is July 31 for a night practice and cookout for fans. There also will be music and a Colts cheerleader performance.