The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

August 14, 2013

'Mr. Irrelevant' quickly becomes necessary for Colts

(Continued)

ANDERSON, Ind. —

"We both, when we see each other in the game, give each other an extra look," Cunningham said. "I try to work a bit harder to get open for him. He tries to look my way a little bit more. We like each other."

Indianapolis fans seem to be warming to Cunningham, too. Which is good because they're likely to see a lot more from him.

In addition to Allen, second-year tight end Coby Fleener also missed Tuesday's practice after suffering a concussion during Sunday's loss. That left Cunningham and Dominique Jones to take the tight end snaps for a day.

Fleener returned to the practice field Wednesday after clearing part of the league's concussion protocols, but he still has more tests to pass before being cleared to play this weekend against the New York Giants.

The potential absence of both starting tight ends quickly has increased Cunningham's importance to the roster. But it hasn't changed much about the way Indianapolis goes about practice.

"They're kind of picking everything up as if it never happened," Cunningham said of the coaches and his teammates. "Me and DJ are probably out there a lot more than we're used to being out there. They're acting as if nothing happened. Picking it up and just moving right along."

That's fine with Cunningham.

He came into the league with a reputation as a fierce blocker with limitations in the passing game. But, as his catch against the Bills shows, that part of his game is evolving.

Cunningham made as much improvement as any player from the spring offseason training activities to the start of training camp. And he's not about to allow the change in his role to alter his perspective.

"I feel like this is a chance just for me to improve," he said. "While (Allen's) out right now, I'm getting more reps and I've got to make the most of them. Just show what I can do."

 

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