TERRE HAUTE — The mystery surrounding the training-camp absence of Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock appears to have been solved.
According to a statement released to various media outlets late Tuesday evening by agent Brad Leshnock, Pitcock has decided to end his National Football League career.
“After much deliberation and careful thought, Quinn resolved to retire from the NFL. He notified the Colts of this decision last week. Quinn is grateful for the opportunity the Colts gave him, and he wishes his teammates and the whole organization nothing but the best going forward,” Leshnock said.
Pitcock, who played collegiately at Ohio State, was the Colts’ third-round draft pick in 2007. Team officials noted Wednesday that while they were aware of the defensive lineman’s intention to quit, they wanted to give him time to think the decision over before moving on.
“Right now, Quinn is really thinking that he’s not going to play. We’re certainly going to leave the door open for him. I have been aware of people who have changed their minds [referring to the ongoing Brett Favre situation in Green Bay], so we’re not going to shut the door. But right now, that’s where he’s sitting,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said.
“It feels like it’s not something that he wants to do. And we’ve told him, ‘Just take your time. And if you determine you want to come back, Quinn can be a good player for us.’ But right now we’re kind of thinking that’s not going to be the case.”
As a former player in the league, Dungy said that he can understand Pitcock’s decision. But there’s also the rest of the team to consider.
“Football’s a tough game,” the Colts’ coach said. “And you’ve got to be into it 100 percent to play effectively. And if you’re not, it’s probably going to be detrimental to you and the team. You see both sides of it. Right now, we’re just going to let him relax and we’ll move on.”
Team president Bill Polian also is taking a wait-and-see stance concerning Pitcock’s future. Polian said Wednesday that the Piqua, Ohio, native has not filed the necessary retirement papers with the league office. Until that happens, nothing is official.
“We’ve not gotten an official letter from him yet, and until we do, there’s nothing to report. I’ve had one conversation with him and I said to take as much time as he needs. So we left him on the “did not report” list. It’s something that happens,” he said.
Should Pitcock’s retirement plans proceed, the Colts will probably seek to recover two-thirds of his original signing bonus. “The question is whether the [NFL players] union will agree to it. It’s a drawn-out process,” Polian explained.
• • •
• No roster moves anticipated — Despite the potential loss of Pitcock, don’t expect the Colts to go searching the league’s waiver wire in an attempt to find another defensive tackle. At least not yet.
For now, Indianapolis will look to its young defensive linemen — Ed Johnson, Keyunta Dawson, Eric Foster, Colin Ferrell — along with veteran Darrell Reid to help fill the void.
“It’s always the same thing,” Dungy pointed out. “I mean, last year Anthony McFarland got hurt and it was a tough day for the defense. Ed Johnson got more of an opportunity to play and played great. Someone will get more of an opportunity now and step in and that’s usually what happens.”
Raheem Brock — who has started at defensive tackle the last two seasons — has been moved back outside to his original defensive end spot where he will be part of the rotation with starters Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. While Brock will continue to get some work inside, the Colts are pining their hopes right now on those players already on the roster.
“Yeah, we got some guys that are going to be able to do some things. We’re going to watch them and give them the opportunity to play,” Dungy said. “The easy thing is to say, ‘Oh, let’s move Raheem back [to defensive tackle]. Let’s do this, let’s stick veteran guys in there.’ But I think we learned last year with Ed that you give people a chance and see what they can do and usually someone steps up.”
• Getting game ready — The Colts began preparing for Sunday night’s preseason opener with the Washington Redskins by getting in a little situational work without the coaching staff being on the field.
“We had our first day of working on situations. We didn’t really work off a script. We worked on coming off our own end zone with our offense and worked on our end-of-the-game situations with our offense ahead,” Dungy said.
“It’s a little different for the players. No scripts, they don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, the coaches aren’t on the field and it’s always a little bit different. We will continue to get sharper. Our defense had the edge [Wednesday morning] and that’s good to see. But we need to sharpen up with our offense for sure.”
• Sorgi has point to prove — Jim Sorgi expects to get a lot of work in the first half of Sunday night’s Hall of Fame game. The perennial backup quarterback is running the show with the first-team offense until starter Peyton Manning gets cleared by medical personnel to return to the practice field.
“I have no idea [how much playing time he’ll receive]. I’m hoping to get a lot of work in. I’m hoping to get at least a half, that’ll be nice. Expectations? Go out there and play good football. Score some points, put the ball in the end zone a couple of times and then win the ballgame,” Sorgi said Wednesday.
Despite entering his fifth season with the team, the former Wisconsin signal-caller has seen limited playing time in Indianapolis. And when he’s been given the chance to play, whether in a preseason game or in a regular-season game, he has worked primarily with backups and rookies. He has often taken a physical beating in the process.
Now, with Manning sidelined, Sorgi will get his chance with first-line players for an extended period of time. He hopes to make the best of the situation. And that includes winning the game.
“Winning’s primary. It doesn’t matter how you play as long as you win. I know it’s preseason. As long as the offense plays well, the primary mission [Sunday night] is to win the game,” he said.
• Sunday playing time not settled yet — Dungy hasn’t decided yet how long the starters will play against the Redskins on Sunday.
“We will probably see how the medical reports are at the end of the week. Friday we will start practicing specifically for Washington,” he said. “We will start thinking about it at that point. But it will be very similar to the first preseason game in the past. Our offensive guys may play a little bit more than they would in a normal first game, but it shouldn’t deviate too much.”
Playing in front of a national-television audience in the first NFL preseason game of the year is another motivating factor.
“It will be because you are playing on a neutral site, you are playing in a historic game and you are opening up the season. So it will be nice to go,” Dungy said. “We’ll have the juices flowing. It still is a preseason game. We’ve got to keep that in mind, the things that we want to accomplish, the players we want to look at, but it will be a little bit special.”
•Former NFL head coaches visit — A pair of longtime NFL head coaches, John Madden and John Robinson, took in Wednesday’s morning practice.
Madden (Oakland Raiders) was preparing for his role as the game analyst for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” crew, which will be carrying this weekend’s Colts game with Washington. Robinson (Los Angeles Rams) has been doing national sports radio work in recent years.
Tom James can be reached by e-mail at TJames1475@aol.com.
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