INDIANAPOLIS — It’s official. The Indianapolis Colts will select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft Thursday night. While the decision to take Luck has been rumored and discussed by fans and the media ever since the end of the 2011 season, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson acknowledged the obvious Tuesday at the conclusion of the morning’s mini-camp practice. “In fairness to Andrew Luck and in fairness to the whole process of the media gauntlet he is going to be enduring the next couple of days, I thought it was the right thing to do to announce that we are going to take him [No. 1],” Grigson said in previewing the NFL draft, which gets under way Thursday night (8 p.m., NFL Network and ESPN) in New York City. “[We] didn’t the see the point in prolonging what the world already knows. It’s about Andrew and we wanted to do the right thing by him.” Luck was reportedly told during a phone call last week. Team officials, however, had been reticent about going public with their decision until the last few days. Coach Chuck Pagano, in his first availability to local media since the National Football Scouting Combine in late February, talked about Luck’s expected addition to the roster and expanded on Grigson’s comments. “We did our due diligence. We studied [Luck and former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III] like heck. Everybody thought this was the foregone conclusion. Really, on behalf of [Luck], you try to make things a little bit easier on his part. Go ahead and make the decision. Go ahead, get it out there officially that he’s our guy,” Pagano said. “The intangibles are off the chart. You know the skill set. You’ve seen his body of work. He’s a gym rat. He’s a football junkie. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s physical. He can make every throw out there. He’s a great leader in his own way. We’ve got a great one. We’ve got a great one for years to come. So he’s another piece of the puzzle that we feel really good about.” Deciding on Luck to be Peyton Manning’s replacement as the face of the franchise and the quarterback for the future was paramount to the Colts’ rebuilding process. “I know this. At any level, if you don’t have a quarterback, it’s really, really hard to win. Especially in the National Football League,” Pagano voiced. “So I’m going to sleep well at night knowing that we have a quarterback for a long time.” • Getting started — Luck will begin his career with Indianapolis during the team’s rookie camp, which is slated for May 4-6. But he won’t be permitted to participate in the Colts’ organized team activities practices later in the month due to NFL rules, which prohibits draftees from practicing with their new teams until they take their final college exams. Stanford, where Luck attended school, is on a quarters academic calendar, which means that the quarterback is off limits until June 7. “He’s chomping at the bit, we’re chomping at the bit, [Offensive coordinator] Bruce [Arians] and [quarterbacks coach] Clyde [Christensen] and everybody on offense is chomping at the bit to get him here and get him going,” Pagano said. “Like I said, his football IQ is off the charts, and so I don’t think it will take very long for him to pick things up and get going. “[But] he’s gotta wait til he graduates. He’s taking two classes right now, and I think his graduation date is June 7. And so as soon as he graduates, he’ll come back out and he’ll get the mandatory mini-camp in and we have another rookie mini-camp after that. He’ll go home for graduation. He’ll go home on the 17th and walk with his graduating class. • Mini-camp starts — Indianapolis began a three-day voluntary mini-camp for the team’s veteran players Tuesday morning. The workouts, which are in helmets and shorts, conclude after a 10:30 a.m. session on Thursday. The Colts have two workouts today (11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.). Pagano came away pleased with his team’s effort after completing a three-week off-season conditioning program, which began earlier in the month. “Obviously, the energy is great. The enthusiasm is great. They’ve been here for three weeks now and this is going into week four. Obviously, it’s a voluntary mini-camp, [but] you’ve got great participation,” the first-year coach said. “They’ve been in the classroom, been running and been conditioning. Now what we’re trying to do is get them to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and come out here and apply it to an offense versus defense type setting.” Defensive end Dwight Freeney missed Tuesday’s sessions but is expected back Thursday. Running back Delone Carter (injury), tight end Brody Eldridge (illness), safety David Caldwell (injury) and linebacker Kavell Conner (injury) did not take part in the first day of work. “Dwight has been here the whole time. He had something come up and he should be here Thursday. His participation has been awesome. Brody went home sick [Tuesday]. He came in, went through meetings and had the flu so he went home sick. Delone has got something with a thumb that [the medical staff is] looking at right now. Until we hear further notice, we’re holding him back,” Pagano said. “[The mood at the practices have] been tremendous. They’re hungry. They’re really hungry. We called last year [2-14 record] an aberration. I think if they could play tomorrow, they’d play tomorrow. I love their enthusiasm and, like I said, their energy has been great [as well as] their participation. I asked [wide receiver Reggie Wayne] when the last time he participated in spring football was and he said “it’s been a few years, coach.” I can’t ask any more from these guys right now. They’ve done a great job.”
Colts' coordinators enjoying getting rookies acclimated
While the Indianapolis Colts put their rookies and a handful of second-year players through workouts this weekend at the team’s Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, a pair of first-year coordinators are getting a chance to do some valuable on-field work as well.
Werner, 36 others open Colts’ mini camp
The Indianapolis Colts welcomed 37 players to the start of the team’s rookie mini camp Friday at the West 56th Street headquarters.
Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Werner at top of game
Bjoern Werner was a late comer to football. But after being selected in the first round of the 2013 National Football League draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Werner realizes that he has reached the pinnacle of the sport in a relatively short amount of time.
Colts select pass rusher Werner in first round
The Indianapolis Colts selected Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive lineman can also play left outside linebacker.
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
Direction clear for Colts in 2013 draft
The Indianapolis Colts head into the 2013 NFL Draft with some definite plans.
Colts veteran among those excited to see Luck's growth in 2013-14
Veteran defensive end Cory Redding is a big fan — literally and figuratively — of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Redding, who has become one of the Colts’ lockerroom leaders after just one season with the team, thinks he has some reasonable expectations of Indianapolis’ former No. 1 draft pick.
Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
Colts sign nose tackle
Another day, more player signings for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
With the possible exception of adding a few lesser-priced players, the Indianapolis Colts’ big-time foray into the veteran free-agent marketplace is pretty much done.
Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
After adding five veteran free agent players to the Indianapolis Colts roster on Tuesday, general manager Ryan Grigson plucked two more plums late Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Colts sign five free agents, filling needs at offensive line, cornerback
The Indianapolis Colts were a busy team on the opening day of the National Football League’s veteran free agent market, which got underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
An Indianapolis Colt for life. Pencil in Jeff Saturday for that honor.
The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
The 14-year veteran center in the National Football League put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in-between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — that Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
Former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday will make his retirement from the National Football League official on Thursday.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts GM enjoying time at combine
Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson makes no bones about it. He enjoys watching prospective football players strut their stuff.
Colts keeping eye on large crop of talented linemen in NFL Draft
According to most National Football League draft observers, this year’s crop of prospects is deep with quality offensive and defensive linemen.
Among the offensive line candidates who have been showcasing their talents at the National Football Scouting Combine, which began in earnest Thursday and wraps up on Tuesday, the spotlight has been on the offensive tackles. Offensive left tackles in particular.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection. While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.
The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
Former Pro Bowl selection Freeney won't return to Colts
The news coming out of the Indianapolis Colts headquarters Friday afternoon was not totally unexpected. Team officials have confirmed that two veteran players – former Pro Bowl defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie — will not be returning for the 2013 season.
Colts’ new offensive coordinator will offer variety
Quarterback Andrew Luck running the Pistol offense? Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton lining up in the Wildcat?
Colts moving on to the off season
Moving on. That’s the immediate plans for the Indianapolis Colts as they head into the off season.
Baltimore ends Indy’s playoff run early
The Baltimore Ravens want one long final ride for Ray Lewis. Having disposed of Andrew Luck and the Colts, they now face a more imposing challenge.
Next up, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Switching sides: Colts-Ravens matchup includes old friends on new teams
Just as Baltimore Ravens players and coaches will be seeing some old friends returning to M&T Bank Stadium today, several Indianapolis Colts veterans will also have an opportunity to renew acquaintances with a familiar face.
Pagano prepares Colts for tough crowd in Baltimore
As a former resident of Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows all about the hard feelings that still run strong about the move of the Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
Pagano marvels at Colt’s progress
In the minutes after last Sunday’s win over AFC South champion Houston, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano marveled at how the 2012 season has progressed for his team.
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