By Dave Stafford
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — Eighteen things you need to know about Indianapolis Colts training camp:
1. When will training camp take place?
From Sunday, Aug. 1-Wednesday, Aug. 18.
2. Where exactly will the Colts practice?
On the Anderson University campus, generally in and around the Kardatzke Wellness Center and Macholtz Stadium. This is on the northeastern edge of AU, north of University Boulevard and west of Alhambra Drive.
3. What’s the training camp schedule?
It’s not set yet. According to the Colts website, www.colts.com, “The club will announce its training camp practice schedule later this spring.”
4. How much will it cost to go?
Training camp will be free and open to the public. Parking will be $10 on the AU campground lot between University Boulevard and Fifth Street, west of Nursery Road.
5. As a fan, what’s the big deal about training camp?
Colts President Bill Polian said Thursday it gives fans great access to players. “We recognize that with a sold-out stadium and the way things are in the NFL, not everyone gets to see a game in person,” Polian said. Training camp offers a chance for fans to get up-close and personal with players and coaches.
6. What does camp mean for the players?
For veterans, it’s where they get back into peak football condition before the season. For rookies and players trying to make the cut, it’s their chance to earn a roster spot. According to National Football League rules, 80 players may come to training camp, but only 53 will be on the final roster set in early September.
7. Can I get Peyton Manning’s autograph?
If you’re lucky. Colts public relations staff say that every player on the roster will be in an autograph tent at some point during camp, but the itinerary is not publicized because of the demands and fluid situation of training camp. So you might get Dwight Freeney’s. Or Joseph Addai’s. Or Jeff Saturday’s. It depends on whose number is called.
8. Where will the coaches and players stay?
AU’s director of university relations Chris Williams said the Colts will stay in university residence halls on the east end of campus, close to the wellness center and training venue.
9. How do you feed 80 NFL players?
Williams said AU’s food service creative dining staff will work with the Colts to meet players’ dietary requirements. Players will eat at the AU Student Center.
10. What about security?
AU campus police, the Anderson Police Department and the Colts all play roles in security for fans, players and staff. The city of Anderson has agreed to provide $100,000 for security. APD is working closely with AU and the Colts to meet all security needs.
11. How many current Colts players were on the team when they last had training camp in Anderson in 1998?
One. He was a rookie. His name is Peyton Manning.
12. Why did the Colts decide to return to Anderson?
Polian said geography is a factor, because AU is within about a 40-minute radius of the greatest concentration of Colts fans. He also said the improvements made at AU in the past 12 years, including Kardatzke, meant the site could handle the stresses that an NFL team puts on facilities.
13. Should I expect to see players such as Reggie Wayne or Dallas Clark hanging out around Anderson outside camp?
Probably not. Training camp is highly regimented, and appearances outside camp are rare. Players are held to curfews set by the team. Any free time that players have between practice, conditioning, meals, preparation and curfew is dictated on a day-to-day basis, according to the Colts PR staff.
14. How many people are expected to come for practices?
City Councilman Art Pepelea estimates that 5,000 to 6,000 fans per day could make the trek to Anderson — far more than the 1,500 to 2,000 fans who made the much longer drive to Terre Haute. Anderson/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Ralph Day agreed that twice to three times as many fans would be a fair expectation.
15. So what does all of this mean for the city and for businesses?
An influx of money and prestige, according to Anderson Economic Development Director Linda Dawson. Terre Haute experienced direct economic impact of about $2 million from Colts camp, and Anderson expects that figure to rise. “You cannot buy this kind of exposure,” Dawson said. “Every sports channel will be coming to training camp, and all the reports will start out by saying, ‘in Anderson, Indiana’ ... and Peyton Manning is a global name.”
16. What kind of things are movers and shakers doing to try to capitalize on training camp?
Marketing and strategizing, starting yesterday. Just after the Colts announcement, business and community leaders met to plan how to trumpet the Colts’ new training camp home. Day said signs, billboards and materials for visitors promoting camp are in the works.
17. Are the Colts coming back to Anderson after this year?
We don’t know yet. Polian said that for NFL teams, “the future is uncharted for us” because of players union negotiations that could impact league schedules, including training camps. He said all parties had agreed that a one-year contract was in the best interests of all sides.
18. Where can I find the latest Colts camp news?
The Herald Bulletin will be covering camp in print and online at www.heraldbulletin.com. AU will post information about the camp at www.anderson.edu/colts. And the Colts website, www.colts.com, also will have news from camp.
Contact Dave Stafford: 648-4250, email@example.com