Count Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as two of Donnie Avery’s biggest supporters.
The Colts’ wide receiver, who has struggled with knee issues the last two seasons after being the first receiver selected in the 2008 NFL draft, opened a lot of eyes in last Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Avery hauled in nine passes for 111 yards in the victory, his first big performance since joining the team as an unrestricted free agent last March.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound native of Alief, Texas, began his NFL career with the St. Louis Rams, catching 53 passes for 674 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games as a rookie. A standout at the University of Houston, he had been selected ahead of other receivers available in the 2008 draft, such as DeSean Jackson and Mario Manningham.
During his second year in the league, Avery started 16 games and had 47 receptions for 589 yards and five TDs. His knee problems began prior to the start of the 2010 season. He was placed on injured reserve after getting hurt in the third preseason game and forced to miss the rest of the year.
After undergoing surgery and attempting a comeback during training camp with the Rams last year, he was released prior to the start of the regular season.
A brief stay with the Tennessee Titans ended this past spring. But it appears that Avery, almost two years removed from major knee surgery, may finally have his career back on track.
“Since he’s got here, he’s been 100 mph. He’s completely healed. I’ve been around guys, coached guys that have come off of major knee surgeries. In Baltimore, I had a couple corners go down. It takes time. It takes more than a year,” Pagano said earlier this week.
“You may be back in a year. But [not] from a mental standpoint [as well as] confidence, running routes, driving, breaking. From a [defensive back’s] perspective or a wide out’s perspective, [Avery is] 100 percent. He’s looked that good in the offseason [organized team activities] into training camp and preseason. So I’m not surprised at all at the success he had last week.”
Neither is Arians, who views the speedy Avery — timed at 4.27 in the 40-yard dash during a pre-draft Pro Day while in college — as a potential big-play threat down field in the Indianapolis offense.
“I loved Donnie coming out [of college]. I had him rated as the highest receiver coming out of the draft that year. Sometimes hard luck hits a guy. Injuries. He’s not in the right system. But ever since he’s been here, his confidence has grown, his speed is back, he’s healthy,” the Colts’ assistant said.
“It hasn’t been a surprise to me. It might be a surprise to him. I think the sky is the limit for this guy. He’s still young. I think we’ve got a diamond.”
Arians thinks he’s close, as a player and with his speed, to where he was before the knee surgery.
“His speed is back. His strength is back. Everything about him,” he said. “I think his confidence level is building each week. So I’m just anxious to watch him grow.”
• Injury list — Wide receiver Austin Collie and right offensive tackle Winston Justice, both recovering from concussions, practiced Friday and will most likely be game-time decisions for Sunday’s game with Jacksonville.
Collie said after the workout that he continues to be day-to-day and will wait to hear what the team doctors have to say in terms of being cleared to play against the Jaguars. He has missed the first two games of the season after he was hurt in the Colts’ preseason game with Pittsburgh.
“Austin had a good week. He’ll be in [this] morning and the doctors will continue to monitor his progress,” Pagano said. “He’s put back-to-back good days in and has felt good coming into the next day. [He] practiced good ]Friday]. He’ll come in [this] morning and the docs will check him out and then we’ll go from there.”
Justice, meanwhile, was sidelined in the second half of the season opener with Chicago on Sept. 9. He has not played since.
“He had a great week and looks to be in great shape. He will come in [this] morning and see the doctors. He looks like he’s a go [for Sunday’s game],” the Colts’ coach said.
Center Samson Satele (knee) and offensive guard/center Mike McGlynn (knee) fully practiced Friday. Satele was hurt late in the second quarter of last Sunday’s game with Minnesota. McGlynn was shifted over from his regular spot and played center for the rest of the game. He saw light practice Thursday with a sore knee.
“They look to be in good shape. That’s a good sign and a good thing for us with those two guys,” Pagano said.
Defensive end Cory Redding saw limited work Wednesday and did not take part in practice Thursday because of a triceps injury. Redding, though, was able to practice Friday.
“Cory went [Friday] and got some work done. He’s still got some time. He’ll live in the training room with our guys and get treatment,” the Colts’ coach said.
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney (ankle) is not expected to play. He has not practiced since he was hurt early in the first quarter of the Chicago game.
Offensive guard Joe Reitz (knee) and inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot) have yet to play this season, but both are hoping to return in time for the Green Bay game Oct. 7. Reitz has been nursing a sore knee since the start of training camp. He tweaked the injury again prior to the start of the regular season.
“[Reitz] is still rehabbing. He’s day-to-day with his rehab. He’s doing well. He’s making progress. And we’re shooting for Green Bay,” Pagano said, confirming that the offensive lineman underwent surgery on the knee. “He had a minor procedure, a scope.”
Angerer also appears to be coming around in his rehab process. He was hurt in the Colts’ opening preseason game with St. Louis.
“[He’s] doing well. Same thing. Shooting for Green Bay with him. But he’s making great strides. They’re bringing those guys along. Again they’re living in the training room, both those guys, they’re night and day in there,” the first-year head coach said.
“They’ve spent time at practice with us and in meetings with us and things like that so they can stay up on the schematics of things and terminology. But they’re going a great job.”
Indianapolis to face Jacksonville on Sunday
Count Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as two of Donnie Avery’s biggest supporters.
Colts take another look at Shakir Bell
Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.
Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested
CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.
Family source: Irsay has gone to treatment facility
The family of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday that he has placed himself in a treatment facility after police found multiple prescription drugs in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
The 54-year-old Irsay, who acknowledged a painkiller dependency more than a decade ago, faces preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel late Sunday and released the next day.
Colts owner has double image in media
Colts owner Jim Irsay is known in NFL circles as a tough businessman and eccentric billionaire who enjoys interacting with fans about his beloved team and favorite songs from bands like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. He may end up adding convicted felon to the mix.
Update: Colts owner Irsay arrested for DWI
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts owner Jim Irsay was jailed today on suspicion of intoxicated driving after police said he failed sobriety tests during a traffic stop and they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle.
Colts sign former Giants receiver Nicks
Ryan Grigson loves to make a deal. The Indianapolis Colts third-year general manager has earned a reputation around the National Football League as a guy who will act decisively and quickly if there’s somebody that he really wants. That trait proved true again Friday as the Colts added former New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to the team’s roster.
Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold
With the NFL’s free-agency signing period getting underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday, it was fairly certain that the Indianapolis Colts would be active participants.
The Colts went into free agency with around $40 million of salary cap space in their back pocket. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson, however, had indicated at the National Football Scouting Combine that he wanted to be judicious in how the team spent its money.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly becoming known as a guy who can quickly adjust to any situation.
Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
In fact, it seemed as if their confidence soared.
Luck has knack for knowing when to run
To run or not to run. When it comes to Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, his competitive nature usually comes into play.
Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts take another look at Shakir Bell