Count Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as two of Donnie Avery’s biggest supporters.
The Colts’ wide receiver, who has struggled with knee issues the last two seasons after being the first receiver selected in the 2008 NFL draft, opened a lot of eyes in last Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Avery hauled in nine passes for 111 yards in the victory, his first big performance since joining the team as an unrestricted free agent last March.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound native of Alief, Texas, began his NFL career with the St. Louis Rams, catching 53 passes for 674 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games as a rookie. A standout at the University of Houston, he had been selected ahead of other receivers available in the 2008 draft, such as DeSean Jackson and Mario Manningham.
During his second year in the league, Avery started 16 games and had 47 receptions for 589 yards and five TDs. His knee problems began prior to the start of the 2010 season. He was placed on injured reserve after getting hurt in the third preseason game and forced to miss the rest of the year.
After undergoing surgery and attempting a comeback during training camp with the Rams last year, he was released prior to the start of the regular season.
A brief stay with the Tennessee Titans ended this past spring. But it appears that Avery, almost two years removed from major knee surgery, may finally have his career back on track.
“Since he’s got here, he’s been 100 mph. He’s completely healed. I’ve been around guys, coached guys that have come off of major knee surgeries. In Baltimore, I had a couple corners go down. It takes time. It takes more than a year,” Pagano said earlier this week.
“You may be back in a year. But [not] from a mental standpoint [as well as] confidence, running routes, driving, breaking. From a [defensive back’s] perspective or a wide out’s perspective, [Avery is] 100 percent. He’s looked that good in the offseason [organized team activities] into training camp and preseason. So I’m not surprised at all at the success he had last week.”
Neither is Arians, who views the speedy Avery — timed at 4.27 in the 40-yard dash during a pre-draft Pro Day while in college — as a potential big-play threat down field in the Indianapolis offense.
“I loved Donnie coming out [of college]. I had him rated as the highest receiver coming out of the draft that year. Sometimes hard luck hits a guy. Injuries. He’s not in the right system. But ever since he’s been here, his confidence has grown, his speed is back, he’s healthy,” the Colts’ assistant said.
“It hasn’t been a surprise to me. It might be a surprise to him. I think the sky is the limit for this guy. He’s still young. I think we’ve got a diamond.”
Arians thinks he’s close, as a player and with his speed, to where he was before the knee surgery.
“His speed is back. His strength is back. Everything about him,” he said. “I think his confidence level is building each week. So I’m just anxious to watch him grow.”
• Injury list — Wide receiver Austin Collie and right offensive tackle Winston Justice, both recovering from concussions, practiced Friday and will most likely be game-time decisions for Sunday’s game with Jacksonville.
Collie said after the workout that he continues to be day-to-day and will wait to hear what the team doctors have to say in terms of being cleared to play against the Jaguars. He has missed the first two games of the season after he was hurt in the Colts’ preseason game with Pittsburgh.
“Austin had a good week. He’ll be in [this] morning and the doctors will continue to monitor his progress,” Pagano said. “He’s put back-to-back good days in and has felt good coming into the next day. [He] practiced good ]Friday]. He’ll come in [this] morning and the docs will check him out and then we’ll go from there.”
Justice, meanwhile, was sidelined in the second half of the season opener with Chicago on Sept. 9. He has not played since.
“He had a great week and looks to be in great shape. He will come in [this] morning and see the doctors. He looks like he’s a go [for Sunday’s game],” the Colts’ coach said.
Center Samson Satele (knee) and offensive guard/center Mike McGlynn (knee) fully practiced Friday. Satele was hurt late in the second quarter of last Sunday’s game with Minnesota. McGlynn was shifted over from his regular spot and played center for the rest of the game. He saw light practice Thursday with a sore knee.
“They look to be in good shape. That’s a good sign and a good thing for us with those two guys,” Pagano said.
Defensive end Cory Redding saw limited work Wednesday and did not take part in practice Thursday because of a triceps injury. Redding, though, was able to practice Friday.
“Cory went [Friday] and got some work done. He’s still got some time. He’ll live in the training room with our guys and get treatment,” the Colts’ coach said.
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney (ankle) is not expected to play. He has not practiced since he was hurt early in the first quarter of the Chicago game.
Offensive guard Joe Reitz (knee) and inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot) have yet to play this season, but both are hoping to return in time for the Green Bay game Oct. 7. Reitz has been nursing a sore knee since the start of training camp. He tweaked the injury again prior to the start of the regular season.
“[Reitz] is still rehabbing. He’s day-to-day with his rehab. He’s doing well. He’s making progress. And we’re shooting for Green Bay,” Pagano said, confirming that the offensive lineman underwent surgery on the knee. “He had a minor procedure, a scope.”
Angerer also appears to be coming around in his rehab process. He was hurt in the Colts’ opening preseason game with St. Louis.
“[He’s] doing well. Same thing. Shooting for Green Bay with him. But he’s making great strides. They’re bringing those guys along. Again they’re living in the training room, both those guys, they’re night and day in there,” the first-year head coach said.
“They’ve spent time at practice with us and in meetings with us and things like that so they can stay up on the schematics of things and terminology. But they’re going a great job.”
Indianapolis to face Jacksonville on Sunday
Count Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as two of Donnie Avery’s biggest supporters.
- Pro Sports
Colts not standing pat in looking toward 2013 season
Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has quickly earned a reputation as someone who isn’t afraid to shake things up a bit.
Deacon Jones of famed Fearsome Foursome dead at 74
David “Deacon” Jones, the original sackmaster, has died.
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Seeking elite status
Many stages are set in the long-running drama that is the Indianapolis 500.
The 97th running on the famed oval today has the potential to provide a new four-time champion in Helio Castroneves or Dario Franchitti.
A win for either driver would tie them for the all-time lead in the Indy 500 as A.J. Foyt (1961, ’64, ’67, ’77), Al Unser 1970-71, ’78, ’87) and Rick Mears (1979, ’84, 88, ’91) are atop that mountain with four wins a piece.
While Castroveneves starts in the middle of row three, he and his team won the pit stop competition on Carb Day. The last time Castroneves won the pit stop competition, he won his third Indy 500.
“The field is so close and we have at least 20 cars that are capable to win this race,” Castroneves said. “My previous win, it was actually won on that as well. We were able to execute in the right time and they were able to put me in a very good opportunity to execute.”
Luck having fun with his first OTAs
A year ago, quarterback Andrew Luck was unable to attend the Indianapolis Colts’ organized team activity practices due to school commitments at Stanford.
Luck, though, went on to have a stellar year for the Colts despite the lack of summer work with the team. Still, in a sense, he is a rookie during this year’s OTA workouts.
“These are my first OTAs. I missed these last year, so I think it’s great. It’s great to get on the field with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff. Obviously, some of us ran some of this stuff [offense] at Stanford [under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton]. But to get out there with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff is good,” Luck said Wednesday as the team wrapped up its first week of on-field voluntary practice sessions.
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.
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.
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 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.
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' 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.
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It's a job, not a reunion, Luck says
Andrew Luck made one thing clear this week.
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Colts’ meeting comes on heels of Texans’ big loss
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Former Illinois star Meyers Leonard living the NBA dream
One thing is for certain. Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers doesn’t need 40 minutes to incite a crowd with a posterizing slam dunk or a big shot block.
At just 20 years of age, the former Robinson, Ill., standout who took his talents to Champaign for two years is getting his feet wet at the highest level of basketball.
Close to 300 fans, many of whom watched Leonard take the Maroons to the 2010 IHSA Class 2A state championship, rode on charter buses to watch him battle the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis last week.
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Former Terre Haute South High School football and basketball standout Cam Cameron was fired Monday as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, who have lost two straight and are still striving for consistency in the running and passing game.
Leonard has moment for highlight reel, but Pacers come away with victory
One night after pulling even with the Chicago Bulls for first place in the NBA’s Central Division, the Indiana Pacers at least maintained that advantage thanks to another big game from Paul George.
Titans to sport new look vs. Colts
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Lions present many challenges for Colts
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Wild card looking mighty doable right now: Colts improve to 7-4 with win
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‘Resilient’ label fits Colts
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Do-or-die Bills next for Colts
Indianapolis Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is quite aware that the Buffalo Bills are coming into Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff, CBS Sports) facing a do-or-die situation in regard to the postseason.
How will the Colts rebound vs. the Bills?
The big question for the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare for Sunday's home game with Buffalo is a pretty simple one.
Colts healthy entering key road game
If all goes well during today’s short walk-through practice, it appears the Indianapolis Colts will be in pretty good health heading into Sunday’s nationally televised (4:25 p.m., CBS Sports) road game with the New England Patriots.
Colts, Patriots renew rivalry for 10th straight year
Once again, Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., it’s the Indianapolis Colts playing the New England Patriots.
Times have changed
A lot has changed for the Indianapolis Colts since a 22-17 home loss to Jacksonville on Sept. 23.
For starters, that’s the only game the 1-7 Jaguars have won this season. Indianapolis, meanwhile, has posted wins in four of its last five games and is rolling along with a 5-3 record.
Many Colts point to that loss in the third week of the season. Indianapolis led 14-3 at the half and were ahead 14-13 after three quarters of play.
In fact, the Colts led 17-16 with 0:45 remaining in the game. That’s when Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert connected with speedy wide receiver Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard pass play that resulted in the final margin of victory.
Colts not carried away with success
The Indianapolis Colts have surprised many fans and media around the NFL by getting off to a 4-3 start this season.
Not pretty, but Colts take win
Strictly from an aesthetic point of view, the Indianapolis Colts’ 17-13 National Football League win over the Cleveland Browns wasn’t very attractive.
Browns rusher has taken criticism from Hall of Famer to heart
Trent Richardson has a point to prove.
Colts wish linebackers could play more at same time
If the Indianapolis Colts could get both of their starting outside linebackers — Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis — on the field together for more than four quarters this season, it would be interesting to see how quickly the team’s defensive unit could continue its development.
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