TERRE HAUTE — Give Bill Polian plenty of credit. The Indianapolis Colts’ team president and general manager had said late last week that he was going to take all the time he needed in order to get the all nine of his draft picks signed.
As of 3 p.m. Sunday, eight of those picks were under contract and should be ready for the start of today’s two-a-day training camp workouts.
The lone question mark revolves around former Ohio State defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock, who was selected in the third round by Indianapolis. Pitcock, however, still needs to pass his physical before his contract negotiations can be completed. That is expected to happen some time this morning.
Three other draft picks — including second-rounder Tony Ugoh, third-round selection Daymeion Hughes and fifth-round pick Michael Coe — came to terms to with the Colts Sunday and were in camp in time for a team meeting.
Ugoh, who will be a candidate to replace former Indianapolis offensive tackle Tarik Glenn in the starting lineup, agreed to his deal Sunday morning and planned to sign the contract later in the day. The former University of Arkansas offensive lineman inked a four-year deal worth approximately $4 million.
“We got the contract done, so they were going to bring it up here. I wasn’t really worried about my contract. That’s up my agent. I hired some good agents. They do a great job and I have faith in them, so I pretty much this whole time I was worried about football,” he said, adding that he is ready to fully immerse himself in picking up the Colts’ offensive system and try to earn a starting job.
“I just have the same mind set. Get ready as soon as possible. That’s pretty much been my mindset this whole time and however I can help the team, I’m willing to do so.”
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• Simon on hold — Veteran defensive tackle Corey Simon, who missed the 2006 season after undergoing knee surgery and then suffering the effects of an undisclosed illness, was slated to report for the start of training camp Sunday.
Simon, though, has not been seen around the Rose-Hulman campus and Colts officials remained mum about his future. But that silence could come to an end fairly soon.
The team issued a statement Sunday afternoon that all personnel matters would be addressed today.
• Gonzalez early bird — Wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, the Colts’ first-round draft pick, certainly knows how to make a good impression on his new employer.
Gonzalez, who signed a five-year contract with Indianapolis last week, was the first Colts player to arrive Sunday for the start of training camp, pulling up to the residence-hall area around 10:15 a.m. He was followed minutes later by his Ohio State teammate, wide receiver Roy Hall.
“I didn’t know how long it was going to take me to get here,” he said, trying to explain why he beat everybody else to the punch Sunday morning. “Better to be early than late, I guess. I know what a college [training] camp is all about and I would imagine it’s pretty similar from a workload standpoint. But I’m just excited to get in here and become even more a part of this team. I’m happy and thrilled to be a part [of the Colts].”
So much so that he made it a point to stress to anyone who would listen that he wanted to be with the team when training camp started.
“The only reason why I really cared so much about getting [his contract] done right away is because I wanted to be in [camp] on time,” he said. “I hate missing things. I was one of those guys who barely ever missed class in college. I just don’t like missing things. That’s just how I am.”
Quarterback Peyton Manning, who knows a thing or two about putting extra time in both on and off the field in order to improve, understands Gonzalez’s mindset.
“Well, I tell you. He is a guy who is kind of known for being somewhat of a gym rat and that kind of reputation sort of proceeded him [to the NFL]. I think that will hopefully pay dividends for him in his NFL career,” Manning said.
“I’ve always believed that if you work hard in college in order to get drafted, you need to work even harder once you get into the NFL to try and excel as a player. But in the short time that I’ve been around him, Anthony seems to have a great work ethic. We are excited to get him out there on the field with full speed and pads and get in some these preseason games and see what he really looks like.”
• Have hyperbolic chamber, will travel — Gonzalez earned a reputation at Ohio State of doing whatever it took in order to be a success and win games. That attitude carries over to the way he prepares himself for practices and games.
As part of his year-round conditioning program, the Colts’ first-year receiver has his own hyperbolic chamber in which he sleeps in every night. Gonzalez uses the chamber to help promote healing from injuries and for general overall good health.
And yes, he brought it with him to training camp.
“I have my little tent thing,” he explained. “I don’t know if you guys know what that is, but I got to set that up. It takes a while to [set up].”
• Sanders to sit out for now — Free safety Bob Sanders is not expected to see much work until the latter stages of training camp. Sanders is still suffering some soreness from off-season shoulder surgery, which was a followup to clean up some work that he had done the year before.
He is one of several Colts’ players who will be relegated to one practice a day during camp. That list wasn’t expected to be finalized until sometime before the start of the team’s two-a-day practice sessions.
“My main goal is to make sure I get it going full strength, work hard and keep rehabbing so that when I get a chance to get back out, I’m ready,” Sanders said Sunday. “I’ll be ready definitely by the first [regular season] game. Right now, we’re going to take it day-to-day. Hopefully I can get back before we finish training camp. If not, I’ll definitely be back by the start of the season.”
“We have an idea of some guys that might be one-a-day [practices],” said Colts coach Tony Dungy. “We’re going to have some guys that are only going to be one-a-day and we’re some guys that won’t practice at the beginning. It’s probably no different than it is every year.”
• Wayne goes green, ready to defend title — Wide receiver Reggie Wayne arrived in style at training camp. Wayne, who showed up wearing the Arizona Cardinals jersey of former Colts running back Edgerrin James last year, outdid himself this year with an outfit that included full body-hunting camouflage — including a partial face cover — and hat.
“You know they’re coming for us, you know what I’m saying?” he joked, referring to the Colts’ having a bull’s-eye on their backs as the defending Super Bowl champions. “Might as well as be prepared and be ready. To be ready to hide and to catch them before they catch you. This is it for this year. We know they’re coming, so we’ve got to be ready.”
Wayne had originally contemplated showing up wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey bearing the number of ex-Indianapolis outside linebacker Cato June, but couldn’t come up with one in time for the start of camp.
Tom James can be reached by e-mail at James1475@aol.com.