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Free agent signings practice with Colts

Courtney Cronin Fox59.com4:07 p.m. EDT, August 5, 2011

ANDERSON– Just a few short days after the start of training camp, the Indianapolis Colts look forward to their free agents and resigned veterans suiting up in pads for their first contact practice on Friday. During the morning hours the team went through a light walkthrough before breaking for the afternoon session where these players will move from the sidelines to the field and take their first hits in practice since last season.

The Colts didn’t waste any time picking up free agents and resigning familiar faces like Joseph Addai and Melvin Bullitt. After the lockout ended, a big emphasis was placed on restructuring the defense which included signing defensive end Tommie Harris and defensive tackle Jamaal Anderson. Both players haven’t had much time to get acclimated to the Colts system just yet but are relying on each other and the other veterans on defensive, including Ernie Sims, to get caught up to speed with the rest of the group.

“We spent a lot of time once we got back to the dorms just talking about where we came from, what we did at our previous destinations and how we need to mold it to get here together,” Anderson said about Harris. “It was great to have that camaraderie early and I think it’s going to be a great unit.”

Even though Friday started off slow, many veterans were eager to get back out on the field for a pads practice later in the afternoon. Since the lockout ended, the free agents the Colts recently signed were continuing their own individual workouts in preparation for the season, hoping they would end up somewhere as soon as possible to get involved in scrimmages and contact practice.

“It feels good to actually be in and involved with everything,” Bullitt said. “At first you weren’t and you’re just watching from the sideline making sure ‘What would I do in this situation?’ But now that you’re actually in there it’s a different feel.”

For Joseph Addai and other veteran signees, it’s important not to rush into practice with today being their first day in pads. “Playing catch up” as Addai put it isn’t the smartest option for veteran players and in his situation of playing in the league for six seasons, he feels lucky to be employed again and is easing back into training camp, fortunate to not have to start his career over with a new team.

“It’s good to be around people that you know and at the same time you don’t have to learn a new system,” the running back said. “I always said if I go to a new team it’s going to be like I’m a rookie again where you have to learn the system and understand everything. But just coming back with the Colts I’ve already got a head start as far as knowing what’s going on, how Peyton’s going to call something, what Clyde (Christensen) is thinking about as far as plays…I’m kind of familiar with that so it’s a good thing.”

Still a no-show at training camp is quarterback Peyton Manning who is currently on the PUP list with a neck injury. Wide receiver Blair White was also put on the injured list Sunday after hurting his back before camp began.

Saturday’s practice begins at 10:30 a.m. with the annual Blue vs. White game at the Anderson University football complex. Players will be sans pads for the scrimmage but will simulate game-like situations in front of fans before their first off day in a week.

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