Rushville Republican

Sports

June 24, 2014

Pagano wants players to focus on 'the hunt'

INDIANAPOLIS — Rookie kicker Cody Parkey officially brought the Indianapolis Colts’ three-day mandatory minicamp to an end Thursday afternoon with a long field goal at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

The kick to abbreviate the last practice of any camp has become a tradition under head coach Chuck Pagano. Many of the team’s veterans got an even earlier respite this time around, being dismissed following the morning meetings.

Pagano said the unexpected day off was a reward for the hard work the Colts have put in throughout the offseason. But the process of preparing for what Indianapolis hopes will be a championship season is far from over.

“We need to take the next step, and the next step is the next 34 days,” Pagano said. “It’s 34 days before we return to Anderson and training camp starts. It’s vacation, but isn’t vacation. Not if you’re chasing that (Lombardi trophy). We made progress, but we’ve got a long way to go still.”

Pagano talked to his players about staying in shape and making sure they’re ready to pick up where they left off when they report to Anderson University on July 23. That includes avoiding bad decisions during the down time.

“We talk about the ‘lion in the field,’ which is total focus,” Pagano said. “The hunt, right? And anything that doesn’t have to do with the hunt, don’t do it.”

PUBLIC PERSONA

Third-year quarterback Andrew Luck has done a remarkable job of remaining out of the public eye for a player who was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick and is replacing one of the best ever to play his position.

But his image recently was added to one of four murals on the outside walls of Lucas Oil Stadium, and he’s beginning to pop up more often in advertisements. Add in a healthy dose of charitable appearances, and Luck’s face suddenly is a far more common sight in and around Indianapolis.

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