By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
If you’re heading out to the final Indianapolis Colts practice and it isn’t your first visit this year, be prepared for a bit of culture shock.
As I wandered out past the practice fields on my way to the media parking lot on Wednesday, much dismantling was already taking place.
The training tents were on their way down. Big flatbed trucks were backing up to O.C. Lewis Gymnasium to begin the process of loading up for the trip to Indianapolis.
Because today’s 9:30 a.m. practice is slated for just over an hour and will be in shorts, players Wednesday were taking off pads and depositing them on the parking lot so they could be boxed up for the trip.
Fans should also understand the players will be making the trip from the practice field to their vehicles as quickly as possible.
Later in the day, they all have to report for team meetings as they get ready for Friday’s home game against the Washington Redskins.
The quicker they leave training camp and get back to Indy, the more time they have with their families before those meetings start.
So the feeling as the team departs is a bit different from this time a year ago. Last year, there was a big cloud of doubt about whether the team would return to Anderson University for training camp because of the impending labor dispute.
This year there is an assurance that the team will not only be back for 2012, but also for four more years beyond that.
That piece of news, announced on Tuesday, was a wonderful shot in the arm for this city both financially and emotionally. Obviously both Anderson University and local Colts fans have done a wonderful job of supporting the team. Both deserve to have the camp remain here.
Covering the team for these three weeks has been a distinct pleasure.
I would compare what we did to keep fans informed to be as good or better than any other newspaper at camp, even those much larger than us.
But the depth of the coverage wouldn’t have been possible without writers George Bremer and Quintin Harlan, video specialist Andy Knight and photographers John Cleary, Don Knight and Aaron Piper. The design of each day’s Colts pages was handled expertly by Heather Bremer.
Without every one of those people contributing, the package each day would have suffered.
I get some questions from people about why we didn’t do stories about this player or that player. We only suggest to the Colts public relations staff about who we would like to interview. I personally made three requests to speak with Adam Vinatieri and struck out on all three occasions. We took two swings at getting Pierre Garcon without success.
Unfortunately the Colts staff isn’t empowered, apparently, to force the players to talk. But we tried to get the best variety we could. We will try again next year.
Until then, I anxiously await Friday’s game.