The Indianapolis Colts are back to work as a team this week at the West 56th Street complex. Several players are getting acquainted with their new Colts teammates. Others look forward to a second season under the leadership of Head Coach Chuck Pagano.
"A bunch of guys look like they came back bigger, stronger, faster," said quarterback Andrew Luck, who begins his second season in the NFL. "I know there's a lot of pride in all the guys to work hard and do that. We trust Mr. (Colts General Manager Ryan) Grigson and all the moves he makes. We know he's bringing in guys who can help us win, that can be major contributors and will fit in with the locker room. I'm very excited for all the new guys and us to get really going once the coaches can get on the field and work with the offense. It will be good."
Luck is reunited with new Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, who coached Luck at Stanford University.
"I feel fortunate I don't have to learn a completely new offense," said Luck. "Obviously, there are things he did in the past year that I wasn't familiar with from when I was with him in college. There are a lot of words, a lot of carryover. He's been very open to ideas of stuff we know from last year here and keeping some stuff. Obviously, it's a work in progress. We've had three meetings so far. It will continue to evolve. He's been fun to work with so far."
Among the new Colts is 6-foot-7, 325 pound Gosder Cherilus, the likely starter at right tackle. Cherilus signed a five-year, $35 million free agent deal, the most expensive off-season investment by Grigson.
"It's a young team," said Cherilus. "They needed a right tackle. I know a few guys on the team and I like what they're doing. I liked what they said. It kind of fits my personality. They do things the way I do things. It was a very comfortable situation for me."
Cherilus spent his first five seasons with the Detroit Lions.
"Sometimes you feel like you have to learn everything over again," said Cherilus. "You feel like a rookie. You have to ask everybody where to go. But I want to be a part of a good team. A great group of guys like these guys are always willing to help."
6-foot-3, 295 pound defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois played in the Super Bowl for the 49ers last season. But he joined the Colts for a $22 million, four-year deal.
"I understand everybody wants to go somewhere for the money," said Jean Francois. "But at the same time, you want the winning. I want to get back to the Super Bowl. With the little pieces they need here or there to be one of the top defenses and stop the run too, I was one of the main pieces that they wanted."
Jean Francois is reunited with defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, who coached Jean Francois in San Francisco his first two seasons in the league. Jean Francois expects to compete for a starting job on the Colts defense.
"I almost feel like a kid who just transferred to a new school," said Jean Francois. "You're trying to get to know everybody. I know a few familiar faces."
The Colts off-season workouts continue through June. The Colts hold rookie camp May 10-12. Veteran mini-camp is June 11-13. The Colts will hold a public workout at Lucas Oil Stadium from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. on June 12.
The NFL draft is April 25-27. The Colts own the 24th pick in the first round.
The NFL schedule for next season is released Thursday night.