The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Sports

May 30, 2013

Fleener showing early signs of progress

INDIANAPOLIS —Andrew Luck took a deep dropback near midfield Wednesday afternoon, sending his wide receivers sprinting toward the goal line.

After a moment to give his targets time to create some separation, Luck took a few steps forward in the pocket and unleashed a high-arcing pass.

When gravity finally re-exerted control, the football nestled into the hands of tight end Coby Fleener -- who somehow, inexplicably, was wide open at the front of the end zone.

As if to prove the play was not a fluke, Luck and Fleener repeated it almost identically two snaps later in the far corner of the end zone.

It’s just the fifth practice of organized team activities -- exactly halfway through the 10 allotted by the NFL each preseason -- and players still are working out in little more than helmets, jerseys and shorts.

But much is expected of Fleener this fall. A second-round pick in 2012, the former Stanford star should shine in new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s West Coast-based scheme.

He and Luck -- along with second-year wide receiver Griff Whalen -- became stars in Hamilton’s offense with the Cardinal. As a senior, Fleener caught 34 passes for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns in a balanced attack that often featured as many as three tight ends on the field at the same time.

He has a natural chemistry with Luck, his quarterback for three seasons in Palo Alto, and it would seem natural for Fleener to have an increased comfort level with Hamilton also onboard in Indianapolis.

But that’s a notion the second-year tight end quickly rejects.

“I wouldn’t say ‘comfortable,’” he said in the locker room at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center following Wednesday’s workout. “I think you’re always trying to make yourself uncomfortable and challenge yourself.”

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