By JIM JOHNSON
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Colts are done with minicamp. The work, however, has just begun.
The team broke from its mandatory three-day camp Thursday with plenty to do as players head for home.
“You have to stay in the mental part, you have to stay in the physical part, you can’t just stop,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “If you get totally away from it, you’re going to come back and you’re going to be lost.”
The team will take some time to rest and spend time with family, but Pagano wants players to come back in top shape and familiar with playbooks when they open training camp in July.
That’s already the plan for many players. Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne said, if nothing else, his workouts will be more intense and at a higher level than normal. He’ll still roll out of bed and be working at 5:30 most mornings. And plans are in the mix for receivers to catch passes from second year quarterback Andrew Luck.
“Nothing changes for me,” Wayne said. “I don’t have the bones of a 24-year-old. I can’t sit down for too long.”
One thing is for sure, though. Once training camp rolls around next month, Pagano doesn’t want any distractions and that was his biggest message before the team broke camp.
“The big thing was, number one, make great choices,” Pagano said. “Spend time with family, do what you have to do mentally and physically, but make great choices. Don’t put yourself in bad situations. Really, the only thing that would derail us from having a successful training camp and start of a great season is a distraction. Having something bad happen and we see it all the time and we read about it all the time.”
Minicamp couldn’t have gone better, Pagano said. Players acquired in the offseason are being introduced into their new roles, including wide receiver Darius Hayward-Bey, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and safety LaRon Landry.
Pagano is healthy after battling leukemia for much of last season, inspiring his team and interim head coach Bruce Arians during an 11-5 season. The Colts lost in a wildcard game to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Now the team is a little bit more at ease.
“Last year there was just a lot of unknowns and uncertainties,” linebacker Robert Mathis said. “Guys came into this camp knowing what to do.”