Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrew Luck doesn’t have a history of playing a lot of football in the snow or in snowy conditions.
But if weather forecasts for this weekend remain on track, Sunday’s AFC battle between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals may be severely tested by the weather.
A heavy dose of snow is forecast for the Cincinnati area, which means that the playing surface at Paul Brown Stadium may be a little on the slippery side.
“I probably haven’t played in the snow since I was throwing a football around as a kid, so [I’m] very excited about [the possibility],” Luck said Wednesday. “I think there’s something about it that’s fun, so we’re looking forward to it.
“I don’t think you want to think about it too much, in a sense. I think when you start thinking about [the weather], you’re thinking about the wrong things.”
For the moment the Colts’ second-year quarterback isn’t as concerned about the weather as he is facing a Cincinnati team that comes into Sunday’s matchup with an identical 8-4 record. Both teams are expected to win their respective divisions (AFC South, AFC North) and are vying for the best possible playoff seeding.
“Yeah, we know it’s going to be a great challenge. I think they’re the leaders of the AFC North right now. A phenomenal football team. I know from our perspective as an offense, [Cincinnati has] a tough stingy defense,” he pointed out.
“An aggressive defense. A lot of playmakers all over the field. So it will be a great challenge and it will be a lot of fun.”
Luck, as does the rest of the Colts team, know the stakes involved in the game with Cincinnati.
“Coach [Chuck] Pagano sort of spelled out where we are as a team. I think it’s good to sort of be aware of that. But also, at the same time, it’s a football game,” he said. “We go out to win every football game, especially when it’s down in Cincinnati [that’s] a couple of hours away. [It’s] a good little rivalry.
“We’ve got to win games to make it to the playoffs. And then also you hope to sort of, not that the ship is in the wrong direction, but iron out all of your kinks and we know we’ve got a chance to do that.”
As for the Bengals’ defense, Luck is pretty familiar with Cincinnati weakside linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The two faced each other in college several times (Stanford, Arizona State).
“I thought he was definitely a playmaker in college and he’s definitely seemed to flourish in these couple of years with the Bengals,” the Colts signal caller said.
“I’m happy for him. Great football player. You definitely have to respect the way he plays the game and he’s done a heck of a job. It’s going to be a fun challenge.”
• • •
• Roster moves — The Colts elevated OLB Daniel Adongo and OT Xavier Nixon from the practice squad to the active roster. Indianapolis also added FB Robert Hughes and DT Jeris Pendleton to the practice squad.
Adongo is a former professional rugby player who had never played American football until signing with the Colts last summer.
He reported for training camp at his rugby playing weight of 240 pounds. Adongo, however, is now a well-chiseled 270. An outstanding athlete, he will be making his NFL debut Sunday against the Bengals working with the special teams units.
“I think back to his very first workout when we first brought him in after a 17-hour flight to Atlanta and then catch a connector up here and come right in. Go to the indoor facility. As we bring in guys every week to try out, street guys and things like that, from what we saw to right now, it’s night and day," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said.
"The guy is a smart guy. We know from a physical standpoint he’s very, very athletic. He can run. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s a tireless worker. He’s been a great pro. Even though he hasn’t played, he’s picked up a ton. Our veteran guys, guys like Robert [Mathis] and the rest of the guys in the defensive room, have been tremendous working with him and mentoring him and bringing him along and helping his development to this point. So, other than actual real game under the lights stuff, he’s been outstanding. If he gets an opportunity [Sunday], I’m sure everybody is going to be real eager to see what he does.”
Could Adongo get work with the defense? Probably not, but Pagano didn't completely rule it out.
"We've got five outside backers that have been playing the lion’s share of the snaps. Not a great need there," he said. "From a special teams standpoint, again, he gives you a big, long, athletic, fast, physical guy that can play in space. That’s where we’ll start.”
ILB Mario Harvey (torn meniscus) and RB Daniel “Boom” Herron (pectoral tear) were both placed on the Colts’ injured reserve list.
• Injury list — Offensive guard/tackle Jeff Linkenbach will not play Sunday at Cincinnati. He started at right offensive guard last week against Tennessee but suffered a torn quad muscle. Linkenbach, who did not practice Wednesday, is sidelined indefinitely.
No decision has been made who will line up at either guard spot. Rookie Hugh Thornton, along with veterans Mike McGlynn and Joe Reitz, are the candidates. Thornton has been the starting left guard, filling in for injured starter Donald Thomas who is out for the year. McGlynn had been starting at right guard until last week.
Cornerback Greg Toler (groin) saw limited work Wednesday. Cornerback Josh Gordy (groin), along with inside linebacker Kavell Conner (ankle), returned for full practice. Thornton (neck), safety Sergio Brown (hand) and defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (foot) did not practice. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) was limited.
• Caskey on Bengals coaching staff — Former Indiana State offensive line and tight ends coach Kyle Caskey is an offensive assistant with Cincinnati.
Caskey worked under former Sycamore head coaches Lou West and Trent Miles from 2006-08.
The son of Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, Marcus, played linebacker for the Sycamores for four seasons. He graduated last summer.
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrew Luck doesn’t have a history of playing a lot of football in the snow or in snowy conditions.
- Pro Sports
Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play
Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.
Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers
Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.
ISU's Odum talks about agreeing to play for Pacers' summer-league team
No team selected him in the two-round NBA draft Thursday night, but Terre Haute native and four-year Indiana State basketball standout Jake Odum agreed Friday to play for the Indiana Pacers’ summer-league squad next month.
LeBron James tells Heat he will become a free agent
LeBron James delivered his message loud and clear, without actually saying a word.
He’s willing to leave Miami, if that’s what it will take to win more championships. And what happens next will likely be up to not just the Heat, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as well.
Big man curse always affects NBA draft
Greg Oden has had years to think about the plight of his knees, and still has no good answers. The No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft is a poster child for big man bad luck, an epidemic that’s been sweeping the league for years. The latest victim seems to be Joel Embiid, a 7-footer expected to be the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft before a recently suffered stress fracture in his right foot almost certainly robbed the former Kansas star of that chance.
Retiring as Colt, Clark appreciates Terre Haute fans
Dallas Clark was always a fan favorite when the Indianapolis Colts conducted their annual summer training-camp workouts at Rose-Hulman. During an emotional 45-minute retirement ceremony Wednesday morning at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Clark — who spent 11 seasons as a tight end in the NFL (nine with the Colts) and signed a one-day career-ending contract with the Colts this week — admitted the obvious. The team’s fans in Terre Haute meant a lot to him too.
Team’s all-time top tight end Clark to retire as Colt
Jeff Saturday did it last year, returning to the Indianapolis Colts after a brief stint as a center with the Green Bay Packers and officially ending his National Football League career with the team where he had his most success. Now it looks like Dallas Clark will be following in Saturday’s footsteps.
FROM TERRE HAUTE TO THE MAJORS: Catchers Phegley, Lucas putting together solid seasons
Two Vigo County catcher prospects are accumulating strong numbers as backstops in professional baseball.
Terre Haute North product Josh Phegley has three home runs in his past six games to put his power numbers close to on par with his career-best 2013 season, and West Vigo alum Jeremy Lucas took a six-game hitting streak into Friday night’s doubleheader for the Carolina Mudcats.
Reed signs with Astros
A.J. Reed’s Wednesday was already pretty good when he was named Baseball America’s College Player of the Year in the morning. In the afternoon, it got even better for the Terre Haute native. The Houston Astros, who drafted Reed with the first pick of the second round in last week’s Major League Baseball draft, announced that they had agreed to a deal with Reed. According to several sources, Reed signed his deal for $1.35 million.
Master of ovals, Ed Carpenter celebrates win at Texas
Car owner Ed Carpenter now drives his car only on ovals. He does it well.
Carpenter won the IndyCar Series race on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, staying in front of Will Power during a two-lap shootout after a late caution.
A.J. Reed picked by Astros with first pick of second round
Terre Haute native A.J. Reed wasn’t expecting the Houston Astros to be the team that would select him in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.
But now that they nabbed him late Thursday night with the first pick of the second round, No. 42 overall, he’s ready to wear an Astros cap.
Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts
The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.
Staying together: Pacers eager to keep Stephenson, starters intact
Larry Bird wants Lance Stephenson back with the Indiana Pacers at the right price.
Miami puts emphatic end to Eastern Conference Finals
The Heat became the third franchise in NBA history to reach the title series in four consecutive seasons, a laugher of a conference-title finale getting them there again Friday night. LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 25 points, and Miami eliminated the Pacers for the third straight year with a 117-92 romp in Game 6 of the East championship series.
George cries foul after Pacers fall 102-90 to Heat
The Pacers fall behind 3-1 in Eastern Conference Finals.
Mathis apologizes to teammates, wishes he had a 'redo'
Just as Indianapolis Colts players rallied around head coach Chuck Pagano in 2012 and wide receiver Reggie Wayne in 2013, not having outside linebacker Robert Mathis available for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season has elicited a familiar-sounding call.
James helps Heat beat Pacers 87-83 in Game 2
LeBron James scored six straight points to spark the decisive 12-2 run and the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 87-83 on Tuesday night to leave the Eastern Conference finals tied at a game apiece.
James had 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade had 23 points, 13 in the first half when the Heat desperately needed them to stay close.
Game 3 is Saturday in Miami.
Pence, Indianapolis mayor lament losing Super Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard are lamenting the city losing its bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
James, Heat seek to regroup vs. Pacers
LeBron James is ready to help the Miami Heat get even against the Indiana Pacers.
No longer shooting like a brick ‘Wall’
It’s unclear exactly when John Wall got his mojo back. Maybe it started on the plane ride to Indianapolis, when he watched movies and remained unusually quiet while thinking to himself: “If we lost this series, I’d put it all on my shoulders.”
Pacers blown out by Wizards 102-79
Marcin Gortat had 31 points and 16 rebounds, John Wall added 27 points and the Washington Wizards rode a 39-rebound advantage to a 102-79 rout of Indiana on Tuesday night, cutting the Pacers’ lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals to 3-2.
Washington can even the series at home Thursday in Game 6.
It was a stunning turnaround for a team that had lost the last three. But with Gortat matching a career high in points and posting a playoff career high in rebounds, Washington held a 62-23 rebounding edge.
Confident Pacers look to finish off Wizards
Suddenly, Indiana has regained its swagger. Roy Hibbert is smiling and confident. Paul George is posting double-doubles and confounding Washington’s guards. The defense is contesting shots and forcing the Wizards into mistakes, and even when things don’t go right, the Pacers still find ways to win.
Redemption: Hibbert breaks out of funk, scores 28 as Pacers tie series at 1-1
Roy Hibbert broke out of his playoff funk with a season-best 28 points and nine rebounds, leading the Indiana Pacers to an 86-82 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night that tied the Eastern Conference semifinals at 1-1.
It was a stark contrast to Hibbert’s abysmal, scoreless showing in Monday night’s loss — and most of this year’s playoffs.
Pacers need Hibbert to make a difference in Game 2
Roy Hibbert’s disappearing act is wearing thin in Indianapolis.
Indiana Pacers fans are so angry, they want him benched or traded. Critics have made Hibbert the target of jokes. Teammates are desperately trying to coax their All-Star center out of his funk, and even ultra-positive coach Frank Vogel knows it’s time for Hibbert to start playing big.
The Pacers need it now, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, more than ever.
Wizards triumph on road again
Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter Monday night and Trevor Ariza had 22, leading the Washington Wizards past the top-seeded Indiana Pacers 102-96 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Relax, Pacers fans, but don't breathe easy yet
Breathe, Indiana Pacers fans. Just breathe.
You deserve to take a deep breath after a seven-game series against Atlanta that very nearly depleted the Pacers of oxygen in their quest for a NBA championship.
West helps Pacers stave off elimination in Atlanta
David West led Indiana on a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season for the top-seeded Pacers with a 95-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
No-name Hawks seek to close out Pacers
Quick, name the starting lineup for the Atlanta Hawks. Stumped? You’re not alone.
Pacers still searching for solutions against Hawks
The Indiana Pacers reached the top of the NBA’s Eastern Conference by relying on hard-nosed defense and a power offense.
They’re on the brink of elimination because neither is working.
The eighth-seeded Hawks are on the brink of pulling a stunning upset thanks largely to Indiana’s ineptitude to get it right in the playoffs.
Hawks take series lead with 107-97 win at Indiana
Mike Scott made five 3-pointers during a 30-6 second-quarter run Monday night, and the Atlanta Hawks fended off a furious fourth-quarter rally to beat top-seeded Indiana 107-97 and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
- More Pro Sports Headlines
- Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play