News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 10, 2010

Colts showing compassion for troubled DL John Gill

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

Anderson — Compassion. That is the general feeling from members of the Indianapolis Colts organization when it comes to two players — one current, one former — who are experiencing potentially life-altering situations.

Defensive tackle John Gill, an early-season pickup by the Colts in 2009, was arrested by Indianapolis police early Sunday morning on charges of public intoxication. Gill, who played collegiately at Northwestern, was found in a ditch on the northwest side of Indianapolis. He was unable to stand after repeated attempts.

After being arrested, Gill was taken to jail and was subsequently released several hours later. The charges were later dropped, which appears to be a common consequence of such arrests according to an Indianapolis police spokesman.

Sadly, this may not have been the first time that Gill had a similar brush with the law. WISH-TV in Indianapolis reported that the California native had also been arrested nearly a year ago for the same offense. Team officials, however, would not confirm those accounts, citing privacy issues. 

As it stands now, however, Gill remains a member of the Colts. The chances of him playing in a game at any point this year are relatively slim.

“With respect to John Gill, he’s got a problem clearly that unfortunately many Americans are familiar with. The No. 1 priority for him is to get treatment. We’re in that process right now. Football is not a priority. It’s not even a consideration. We’re in discussion with the league office and they’ll let us know what the appropriate roster category is for him,” team president Bill Polian said Monday.

“He’s going into treatment as quickly as possible. That’s being arranged with the appropriate people at the league level. And we’ll move on from there. We hope, obviously, for John’s sake and his family’s sake, that everything in the end will work out. His focus now needs to be on treatment and getting himself squared away.”

Heading into this year’s training camp, there was a chance for the 6-foot-3, 302-pound defensive lineman to earn a spot on the Colts’ regular-season roster. With a year under his belt in the Indianapolis defensive system, Gill was in the mix for a full-time job with the team.

“We were very hopeful this would be a good year for him. But it hasn’t turned out that way. It’s important that he get on with the business of getting his life straightened out,” Polian said, adding that he anticipates that the NFL office will place Gill on the inactive list at some point.

“I would anticipate that. But I don’t know. We’ll hear from them later [Monday].”

Coach Jim Caldwell added later that the team will not make a roster move with Gill’s spot until hearing from the league office.

n Pitcock making a comeback — And then there’s former Colts defensive lineman Quinn Pitcock, who retired unexpectedly before the start of training camp two years ago. Pitcock had been a third-round draft pick in 2007.

After seeing limited playing time early that season, the former Ohio State defensive lineman appeared to be positioning himself for a starting role in 2008. But that never happened. Pitcock abruptly decided to quit playing professional football less than a year after being drafted.

He went into semi-seclusion in Indianapolis, not responding to questions as to why he decided to retire from the NFL at so young an age. In fact, it wasn’t until he was given his official release by the Colts a week before the start of training camp this year that Pitcock began to re-emerge.

Deciding that he wanted to give football another chance, he made it known through his agent that he was available to try out for a team if anybody was interested. The Seattle Seahawks took him up on his offer. He’s now in the Seahawks training camp, trying to win a job.

In returning to the world of the NFL, Pitcock finally decided to come clean about the reasons behind his leaving the Colts.

“I’m introverted,’’ Pitcock told Seattle-area reporters recently. “I cast myself away from everybody and became almost a hermit. I was a hermit for a year. No one knew where I was at. I just sat in my apartment and did nothing.’’

He became depressed, which led to an addiction to video games.

“I got sucked into that,’’ Pitcock said. “I’m going to be working soon starting some sort of charity to help kids who are addicted to video games, because that turned into my way out. I got lost to the world. It took me a while to get myself back and get my bearings and get back into society.

“You always say, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ Then finally you just have an awakening where you say, ‘What am I doing?’ I got to the point where I broke and burned many video games trying to quit. Once I got rid of that and realized I could slowly start eating healthy, exercising and doing all that, I got back on track.’’

Wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, a teammate of Pitcock’s at Ohio State and also a 2007 draft pick by Indianapolis, wishes him the best in his return to the playing field.

“Each person goes through his own personal struggles. Quinn was a teammate of mine at Ohio State, and while we weren’t great friends or best friends, we were certainly close from a teammate standpoint. It was difficult for the observers, myself included, to see him go through that,” Gonzales said Monday.

“I didn’t know about any depression or anything like that. But it certainly adds up. If you think about a guy coming into his second year [in the league] and he’s probably going to be a starter — or if not a starter, a pretty big contributor — and to just retire kind of out of the blue, it’s a little surprising. So I guess from that standpoint, it makes sense. Clearly there was something else going on. I think everything adds up. I hope he’s beaten the depression. And I hope that he can get himself back on track.”

• Injury list — Sitting out Monday morning’s practice were tight end Dallas Clark, defensive end Keyunta Dawson, weakside linebacker Clint Session, tight end Colin Cloherty, rookie cornerback Brandon King, Gonzalez, offensive tackle Charlie Johnson, center Jeff Saturday, rookie offensive guard/center Jacques McClendon and offensive guard Andy Alleman.

Returning for practice on Monday morning were rookie cornerback Ray Fisher, offensive guard Tony Ugoh and offensive tackle Ryan Diem.

“If I start going down the whole list, there’s not a guy out there who doesn’t have something wrong with him at this time of year,” Caldwell said.

• Blue helmets on Monday — Players donned throwback blue helmets during Monday morning’s practice. The dark blue helmets sported two small horseshoes on the back instead of the more recognizable white helmets with the large blue horseshoe design.

The Colts will wear vintage 1955 uniforms during Sunday’s 2010 preseason home opener with San Francisco.

“I love them, actually. Not to get in trouble, but I think the horseshoes [on the blue helmets] are a little oddly placed. I’m not sure they are necessary, but other than that the blue helmets are great. I think they are pretty cool looking,” Gonzalez said.

“Variety is nice. I’ll say that. Mix it in [the blue helmets] every now and then.”

• Vinatieri feeling fine — Placekicker Adam Vinatieri says that he is feels fine after missing most of 2009 with hip and knee issues.

“I don’t have anything that’s bothering me,” he said Monday afternoon. “And when we’re out there and we’re nice and loose and warm, it feels like it should.”

Vinatieri missed two of three field goal attempts in last Saturday’s controlled scrimmage.

“It’s about timing. You miss a couple, you’re happy it’s early in preseason and training camp. You go back out and keep going,” Vinatieri said.