The Herald Bulletin
---- — DHB is star of the day
ANDERSON — Darrius Heyward-Bey came to the Indianapolis Colts with a reputation for unreliable hands, and a few drops early in training camp seemed to reinforce those fears.
But he’s been working alone with the JUGS machine before and after every practice, and it’s beginning to pay dividends. The wide receiver known as DHB was the best offensive player on the field Thursday.
He led the first unit with six receptions and twice went to the ground to make catches for second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
It was the continuation of a trend that began Wednesday when Luck hit Heyward-Bey for a more than 50-yard gain on his first attempt during team drills.
“He’s really had two back-to-back really good days,” head coach Chuck Pagano said, noting that the big reception from Luck might have been the start of the turnaround.
Pagano credited the wide receiver’s progression to increased familiarity and comfort with the offense and growing chemistry between Heyward-Bey and Luck.
Roster in motion
It was a day of new arrivals at Anderson University.
Offensive guard Danous Estenor and center Thomas Austin were signed. Offensive Robert Griffin was released, and inside linebacker Scott Lutrus was waived injured.
There was also word more transactions could be on the way today.
Toler progressing through protocol
Cornerback Greg Toler has played as well as any defensive player since joining the Colts in March. But his strong offseason was interrupted late in Wednesday’s practice when he suffered a concussion on a non-contact play.
Toler dove to knock a pass away from wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, and his head appeared to make contact with the field turf at Macholtz Stadium. He was slow to get up and eventually needed help from trainers to make his way to the sideline.
On Thursday, Toler watched practice from the sideline in a jersey and shorts. Pagano said the team is going through the league protocols before the cornerback will return to the field.
“I think he was tested today,” Pagano said. “They’ll do some treadmill running, some things like that. They’ll go through the proper protocol, test him again tomorrow and then we just wait until (team doctors) release him.”
Pagano said there’s no rush, and the team is treating the injury the same way it would in the regular season.
Outside linebacker Daniel Adongo also aggravated a prior biceps injury during Wednesday’s practice and was held out of Thursday’s session as a precaution.
Whalen on the rise
Griff Whalen has been one of the low-key stars of training camp, consistently making catches while working primarily with the second team as a wide receiver.
The former Stanford star also had a strong preseason a year ago before injuring his foot and spending the regular season on injured reserve. Pagano compared Whalen to top receivers like Wes Welker, Austin Collie and Julian Edelman at a young age and said the youngster is going to make it hard on the team to get rid of him.
“We always talk to everybody about becoming necessary,” Pagano said, “and he’s one of those guys that is becoming necessary.”