News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 7, 2012

Colts will be glad when Luck is secured

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — While rookie quarterback Andrew Luck isn’t due back to participate in his first full-team mini-camp practice until next week, the Indianapolis Colts are ready to wrap up organized team activity practices with a workout this morning at the team’s West 56th Street headquarters.

Luck finishes up his architectural design classes at Stanford today and is scheduled to report for the Colts’ mandatory full-team mini-camp. He has yet to sign a contract with Indianapolis, although that’s a mere formality with the new rules set in place by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the National Football League and the NFL Players Association.

Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay tweeted over the weekend that a deal between the Colts, Luck and Luck’s agent, Will Wilson, is getting closer to completion.

“As far as I understand it now, [each rookie contract negotiation] is slotted. With inflation, he will get a little bit more than [Carolina quarterback] Cam [Newton] got last year. So it should be a little bit easier,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday.

Luck is expected to sign a deal that is worth approximately $23-24 million over four years. Pagano doesn’t know when that will happen nor is he willing to even hazard a guess.

“I’ve got nothing to do with that stuff. I don’t want to know anything about that stuff. I just know that he’s doing good,” the first-year Colts coach said, adding that he’ll be glad when a contract is finally worked out.

“It will be great. It will be great for, obviously, Andrew as far as getting in here, getting in the locker room, getting back with the offense, getting the timing down with the receivers and all of those kinds of things. It will be super to have him back.”

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• Wayne ready to welcome Luck — Despite the best laid plans of Luck and veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, they haven’t been able to get together for a workout just yet.

But with next week’s mini-camp on the horizon, Wayne knows that the real work in establishing a bond with the Colts’ new starting quarterback is about to begin in earnest.

“He’ll be here soon. I wish we could have had the opportunity [to practice together] but he wasn’t able to get back. We’ve got a short time period. We’re going to get together next week in mini-camp and we’re going to find time to get together to get some work in between mini-camp and training camp,” he explained Wednesday.

• Cornerback battle — Pagano said that he expects the team’s cornerback situation to sort itself out in training camp. While veteran Jerraud Powers is expected to be one starter, the other spot is up for grabs among several contenders.

“We are making progress. Those guys, like everybody else, are working extremely hard at their craft. From a coverage standpoint, they are being asked to do a little bit more than they have been asked to do in the past. From a fundamental and technique standpoint it is a little bit different,” the Colts coach said.

“I really don’t want to get into exactly what that is, but from a fundamental and technique standpoint, they are being asked to do a little bit more. They are picking it up, they are progressing really well and they are competing and doing a nice job. We are making progress.”

Among those vying for a starting role opposite Powers is Kevin Thomas, Chris Rucker, Terrence Johnson, Brandon King and former Denver Broncos backup Cassius Vaughn.

“You would love to have somebody, obviously, separate from the pack,” Pagano said. “At the OTAs it is a controlled environment, so once we get to training camp when we get the pads on I think (the cornerback position) will start to clear itself up.”

• Brown in mix at running back — Much-maligned running back Donald Brown will be an every-down back in the Colts’ new offensive system. Pagano said that Brown’s pass protection skills are important.

“He is doing a tremendous job and he is having a fantastic offseason. He understands, especially on third down as far as protections go and all of those things. Nothing is going to be more important than protections,” the Colts’ coach said.

• Roster move — Indianapolis continued to tweak its offseason roster Wednesday when the team released center Jake Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick, who played collegiately at Texas Christian, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Colts on July 29, 2011. A former winner of the Dave Rimington Award as the nation’s best college center, he was released following training camp. Indianapolis then re-signed Kirkpatrick as a free agent on March 8 prior to his release.

The Colts, meanwhile, signed free agent wide receiver Kris Adams and waived outside linebacker Kevin Eagan on Tuesday.

Adams (6-3, 194) was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Bears on July 26, 2011. He was signed to the Bears’ practice squad on Sept. 5 where he remained until Oct. 11. Adams was signed to the St. Louis Rams practice squad on Oct. 18 before being released on Nov. 8.

He was then signed to the Minnesota Vikings practice squad on Dec. 14 where he spent the remainder of the season. Adams was signed to a reserve/future contract by the Vikings on Jan. 2 and was then released on May 14.

Eagan was originally signed as an undrafted free agent on April 30. He competed in four seasons on the defensive line at Endicott College.