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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A move made by Jacksonville recently may have gone unnoticed by Colts fans – the Jaguars hired former Colts tight end Marcus Pollard to oversee Player Development and Youth Football.
What a solid move by a divisional foe.
I know Marcus was one of the most popular Colts ever, and I would think he is loved universally by those who follow the Horseshoe.
Marcus came to the Colts on the scouting tip from a part-time personnel man named Ken Geiger. Geiger, who worked under Bill Tobin, saw Marcus play basketball at Bradley. Geiger liked Pollard’s athletic ability and thought he might have a football future.
Geiger was right.
When a trainer giving Marcus a physical before he signed asked him what position he played, Pollard said, “I don’t know.”
After opening 1995 on the practice squad, he later appeared in eight games. By 1996, he was at home at tight end. Pollard’s first career reception that year went 48 yards for a score. He bowled over about six Dallas players on the way to the end zone in a great 25-24 comeback win.
Pollard played in 146 games with the Colts, starting 102 from 1995-2004. He caught 263 passes for 3,391 yards and 35 touchdowns.
After leaving the Colts, Pollard played in Detroit (2005-06), Seattle (2007) and Atlanta (one game, 2008). He appeared in 192 career games, catching 349 passes for 4,280 yards and 40 scores – stupendous totals for a player whose first taste of football came at its highest level.
Pollard’s 13-year career was a testament to his ability – Geiger was spot on. His ability to thrive in the NFL beyond the playing field is a testament to the person.
Each NFL team employs a staff member who helps advise current players how to prosper outside the field’s border. David Thornton is that person with the Colts.
Pollard and Thornton were teammates from 2002-04 with the Colts. They were components that helped the team go 10-6, 12-4 and 12-4 while making the playoffs all three years and reaching the AFC Championship game in 2003.
Colts players know they can take to the bank any advice Thornton gives. Jaguars players will find the same true of Pollard. Players in both franchises would do well to model themselves after the examples Thornton and Pollard provide.
Speaking for many Colts fans, all the best, Marcus. A familiar face is aligned with a staunch foe, but Marcus always represented the Colts and Indianapolis well.
Tags: Bill Tobin, david thornton, indianapolis colts, jacksonville jaguars, Ken Geiger, Marcus Pollard
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By Brooks Busch, Colts
On a beautiful, sunny day in Central Indiana, the 2012 rookie class for the Indianapolis Colts showed that behind the rough and tough exterior of every NFL player, even the biggest, fastest and strongest men on the planet can still enjoy and appreciate a day that takes them back to their childhood.
For rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, the opportunity to take a step back from the whirlwind that is life in the NFL was one that afforded him the chance to unwind and have fun with teammates.
“It was really nice to get away,” said Hilton. “(Director of Player Engagement) David Thornton always finds things for us to do, and it is better for us rookies to stay together as a class with the Colts. It was nice to get away from football and to just relax your mind and play with the animals.”
The Indianapolis Zoo put forth its best foot on Friday in playing host to the young, fresh faces that have been added to the Colts roster, as they supplied the team with a behind-the-scenes look into what makes the zoo such a popular destination for residents across the state.
One of the major attractions throughout the day was the orangutan exhibit. Enamored with the opportunity to watch and interact with the orangutans, just as a child on his first visit to the zoo, Hilton and his teammates were captivated by the primates.
“They were great,” said Hilton. “They understood English just like us. It was pretty cool to see them get the gum out of the wrapper with their mouth and give us back the wrapper.”
For each rookie, a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo gave them the opportunity to see what the city of Indianapolis is all about. From the residents that help provide the state with a friendly environment to the care and quality applied to each popular destination, the city of Indianapolis certainly makes up for its lack of size with a sense of pride and ingenuity.
Fellow rookie wide receiver LaVon Brazill has found the city to be every bit as amiable as he hoped it would be, and grown even more excited about what his future in Indianapolis may hold.
“I can see myself being in Indianapolis for a very long time,” said Brazill. “I am ready to adjust to the city and I can’t wait to be out here in the community.”
Tags: david thornton, LaVon Brazill, T.Y. Hilton
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