Colts clean out their lockers, look ahead to the future

(WTHR Photo: Anna Carrera/Twitter)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – The Colts are back in Indianapolis and spent time cleaning out their lockers on Sunday morning.

This was not the way they wanted to spend the rest of the weekend, but they are hopeful for next season. Many of them were smiling and laughing as they worked.

"The future is bright and we have a really young team, so it’s really cool to be a part of that," said Colts running back Nyheim Hines. "Hope to be back next year and part of it and keep climbing, keep doing things."

"What Chris [Ballard] and Frank [Reich] put together, they’re putting together some guys that love football," said Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. "As long as you’re around guys who love football, you’re going to be a tough team."

Players we talked with say they've developed a strong brotherhood in the locker room, which extends beyond their playing time.

They spend time outside of that getting to know each other's families and doing other activities together.

"It’s different when you’re playing with a guy that’s a teammate because it’s like, 'I’m going to do my job, but am I really going to put myself, my body, on the line to go out there and hurt myself or whatever it may take for us to win this game?'" said Colts safety Malik Hooker. "But when you’ve got a brother, it’s like, 'nah, there’s no question about it."

"It’s a great locker room, one of the best ever for sure," said Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri. "The guys work their butts off this season to do what they did and it was a great year. It was a lot of young guys here that really busted their butt all season long and it’s hard to say goodbye to everybody moving forward this year, but it’s been good."

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck says he's looking forward to taking some time to relax in the off-season, but he's already looking ahead. Other players echoed his sentiments.

"Keep working hard," said Luck. "We keep staying focused on the things that got us to this point, which is getting better, the process, improving. Improving as individual players, improving as a unit and improving as a team. I don’t think that’ll change."

"It was a great experience being in the playoffs and I’m very grateful for that, but definitely already looking forward to next year. But before that, looking forward to the off season and improving," said Colts rookie offensive lineman Quenton Nelson.

Colts head coach Frank Reich said he was appreciative of fans and was working on a letter them to show his gratitude. He plans to release that in the next few days. He says his 1-0 mantra this year is connected with the idea of climbing a mountain.

"Believe me, when you climb a mountain, you’re climbing it for one reason," said Reich. "To get to the top of the mountain. But it’s all about the climb, man. It’s all about the climb. You’ve got to love mountain climbing. And I know that sounds corny, but the guys in this building, guys in that locker room, coaches and players, that just exceeded any of my wildest expectations."