— Despite the completion of group offseason practices, individual work will continue until the start of training camp on Aug. 1.
"It (work) continues," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said recently. "That's one of the things, that I think, is a misconception. That once OTAs end that the work is stopped. But we continue to work all the way up until training camp. They'll lift, they'll run. They're still working at their routes and coverage techniques, just trying to find a way to get better.
"We got a lot accomplished (in the OTAs and minicamp). I really do believe that. Schematically, the things that we changed and that were new, we were able to get familiar with those things. I think we improved in terms of overall execution. I think our team has a real strong work ethic. But this is an eager and hungry group. And I think that overall, we improved almost in about every single phase. Not to the point where we say where we'd be ready to play (a game) tomorrow. We don't have to get started until later on this year. But I felt good about what we got accomplished."
Colts team president Bill Polian says that he isn't waiting on what happens with the contract negotiations with New England QB Tom Brady when it comes to contract talks with Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning.
"No. No, we're not. We really don't do much of that anyway, but we've been clearly focused here on what we do for Peyton and how he fits for us, and it really has no bearing on what anyone else does," Polian said.
"I don't think you play the waiting game. I think what you do is cover as much ground as you can, both conceptually in form, and in the way you're gonna deal with various parts of the contract. And then the hope is to get as much information as time goes on as possible, so that when you get to the last throes of it, you're able to just plug the numbers in, in the sense that you've covered lots of ground beforehand.
"That's our objective, both Tom Condon and myself, going forward. So we'll have those conversations, we'll cover a lot of ground, but I don't think you should stop dead in the water. That doesn't make sense. But the further we get toward next March probably the more we'll know about how the labor situation shapes up."
— Polian added that there is no timeframe in place to have a Manning deal wrapped up.
"There isn't any timeframe," he said. "We've done Peyton's contract at the end of the season. If I'm not mistaken, we actually franchised him once (in 2004). We're used to that. There's nothing out of the ordinary there, at least in the way that Tom and I have operated.
"So we'll cover the ground we need to cover, and we're aware of the calendar, we know what the issues are. That won't be a problem."
— If anything, Polian said that the uncertainty around the league concerning the CBA talks between the NFL's owners and the NFLPA is the biggest hurdle in salary negotiations.
"It is always difficult to do in that you are talking about astronomical numbers," he said. "That said, the more difficult part of it is not know what the labor situation will be going forward. That's the hard part, because you don't know that a contract you would do today would fit under the system tomorrow.
"That's where you gotta be not only creative, but clairvoyant. And I'm not clairvoyant."
— WR Reggie Wayne and DE Robert Mathis skipped the team's offseason work, including the mandatory minicamp. Each has two years remaining on his deal.
Polian anticipates both reporting for the start of camp.
"They have been stellar people who always do the right thing for themselves, for their teammates, for the Colts and I don't expect that to change," he said.
Failing to report on Aug. 1 exposes each player to a $14,000-per-day fine. Polian added that if a veteran under contract fails to report by Aug. 10, he has another year tacked onto his existing contract under rules in place during an uncapped year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's nice to get it done. He could have played on the (restricted) tender or the reduced tender, but we said all along our goal was to get him under a long-term contract and we have." — Colts team president Bill Polian on signing S Antoine Bethea to a longer-term contract.
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