The Colts 2013 rookie class isn’t a month into their new city but they are slowly being ingrained to what Indianapolis is all about.
With some extra planning from Director of Player Engagement David Thornton, the Colts rookies had a weekend that many Hoosiers would dream of in visiting two iconic images in the state capitol.
It all began on Friday afternoon as after a week of work at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, the rookies had a little bonding time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for “Fast Friday.”
“When we pulled it, we pulled right inside and half the players didn’t even know that we were inside the track. It’s like it’s own little town or city inside the track.”
Stormy weather on Friday afternoon didn’t damper any of the rookies spirits as the awe of being inside the world’s largest stadium quickly set in.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard welcomed the rookies to the Speedway and gave the class a short speech on the magnitude of an impact they will have on the Circle City.
Next on the agenda was a trip down to the social media center where the players interacted with fans and took their turn at an IndyCar simulator.
“Indianapolis is synonymous with lots of sports but if you go anywhere around the world people mention the Indy 500,” IMS Public Relations/Media Liaison Suzi Elliott said. “It was important for us to get them here and expose them to our event and our venue and welcome them to the city.”
The trip did not end without the players heading down to the car garages where they toured various team garages.
Next, was a chance to step foot on the track where the rookies kissed the historic yard of bricks before a few hopped inside of an impala and were driven around the 2.5 mile oval.
For nearly every member of the rookie class, it was the first time that any of them had been to a race track.
A few will be back on Sunday to experience the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500. This past weekend’s visit to IMS was followed up with a trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the Pacers clinching Game 6 victory which made for an exciting first weekend away from football for the 2013 Colts rookies.
“It’s real nice because you have a bunch of guys from all over the country and from outside the country like Bjoern (Werner),” offensive guard Hugh Thornton said.
“To have us all together in the community, that’s what we are all about and that’s what the Colts are all about. We are all just about giving back and now we are at the biggest event in Indianapolis to support the race.”
Tags: Bjoern Werner, brandon mcmanus, david thornton, Hugh Thornton
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Brandon McManus wasn’t even a teenager when Adam Vinatieri kicked his first game winning field goal at Super Bow XXXVI.
Now at the age of 21, McManus will be calling the 40-year old Vinatieri a teammate.
McManus was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent and while there might not seem like an immediate need for a placer kicker in Indianapolis, the tutelage under Vinatieri is invaluable.
“I’m definitely excited to come in and learn from (Vinatieri),” McManus said during the Colts rookie minicamp. “I think anyone that’s a young kicker now has watched him win all those Super Bowls and how clutch of a kicker he is.”
NFL kickers are largely measured on how clutch they are when the game is on the line and no one holds a stronger resume than Vintatieri.
He has 24 game winning field goals in his NFL career and it’s that aspect of the game that McManus also holds in the highest regard.
“That’s one part of my game that I like to try and drive around is being a clutch kicker,” McManus said. “I’m excited to learn the ropes of what it takes to be an NFL kicker.”
McManus comes to the Colts after four seasons as the kicker for Temple University.
He hit game-winning field goals three times for the Owls and leaves as the school’s all-time leader in points (338) field goals (60-of-83) and punting average (45.4).
Over the past few seasons, training camp has allowed for a few pressure packed situations for Colts kickers not named Vinatieri with the 18-year veteran resting his right leg.
Sooner or later Vinatieri’s career will eventually come to a close with a chapter saved for Canton, Ohio.
As of this past weekend, McManus hadn’t met Vinatieri but he didn’t need to turn far to look at No. 4’s locker and know what the man owning that space stands for in kicker’s lore.
“Anytime they got across the 50 (yard-line) in a end-of-game situation, you knew Adam was going to make the kick,” McManus said. “I think that’s a lot of trust that he’s grown through coaches and his team through that aspect.”
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, brandon mcmanus
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