By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — INDIANAPOLIS — For the fifth consecutive summer, the Indianapolis Colts will call Anderson University their training camp home in 2014.
The news was announced Tuesday afternoon by team owner Jim Irsay on his Twitter account. Irsay also took the time to praise the city and its residents.
"The people in Anderson are so friendly and welcoming each summer," Irsay tweeted. "True blue Colts fans. Great city in the heartland!!!"
AU president James Edwards shares the owner's enthusiasm. The school served as summer host for the NFL team from its first season in Indiana in 1984 through Peyton Manning's rookie season of 1998.
The Colts trained at Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute from 1999 through 2009 and returned to Anderson to prepare for the 2010 season. This summer will mark the 20th training camp AU has hosted overall.
"We are really pleased for at least a couple of reasons," Edwards said. "First, this news comes a couple of months before we actually have to deliver. That allows us to be at our best. And the second reason is the Colts are really happy with this decision."
Indianapolis completed an 11-5 regular season with a 30-10 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The Colts will host Kansas City (11-5) in an AFC wild-card playoff game on Saturday at 4:35 p.m.
The playoff appearance is the third in the four years since the team returned to train at AU, and the campus is the only professional training camp site record-setting quarterback Andrew Luck has ever known.
"Everybody feels great about the relationship," Edwards said. "And that's what it comes down to: human, personal relationships."
Training camp likely will begin in late July and last until mid-August. In previous years, local economic officials have estimated the camp's impact at $6 million.
Last year's training camp drew more than 40,000 fans across 15 practice days.
"Andersonians have the greatest admiration for the Colts organization," mayor Kevin Smith said in a city press release, "and we're proud Anderson University offers such high-quality facilities which I believe contributes to the Colts being the greatest team in the NFL."