On a hot day in July, it felt a little like fall. And a lot like a beginning.
The Colts held the first practice of training camp in Anderson, Indiana on Wednesday and the fans in attendance got a look at their new team.
“It’s a whole different team every year,” says safety Mike Adams. “New faces, new people…”
And a new focus.
“Love for the game, love for the shoe, love for your brother… that’s what it’s all about,” said Coach Chuck Pagano in the locker room last season.
And it set the tone for this season. Because this year, it’s for the shoe.
“It’s something that you hear them say a lot and I think that’s why it connected so quickly for all of us,” says owner and vice chairman Kalen Jackson. “It’s one that’s kind of crossed all bounds.”
“It’s for the shoe, man,” says wide receiver Donte Moncrief. “Everything we do every day is for the shoe, mentally, physically, everything. You’ve got to be ready. No matter what comes your way, you’ve just got to be ready for the shoe. You’ve got to put on for the shoe.”
“I’ve been a fan of the shoe since day one,” says linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. “We’ve preached it in the confines of our building about the shoe and what it takes to play for the shoe and what it means to represent the shoe.”
“The shoe embodies everything that the Colts are about,” says defensive tackle David Parry. “We have a bunch of pictures of the shoe around the facility. A couple of them have trust, loyalty, and respect and those are kind of the core values of our organization. Any time you’re able to represent something with such integrity, you’ve got to take pride in it.”
“It speaks to unity, the team, the direction everybody is going, all those things are incorporated into the shoe. That’s all of us trying to achieve a goal,” says tight ends coach Jim Hostler.
“I love it. I repeat it constantly,” says defensive backs coach Greg Williams. “It gives everybody one goal, one vision, and that’s what you want. As long as we all have that and we’re all looking for the shoe and playing for the shoe, I’m bought in already.”
“A big part of sports that isn’t talked about is – if you’re a team that’s tight, you want to play for each other,” says punter Pat McAfee. “You want to show out for each other, and that’s what (it’s) all about – is coming together, building a camaraderie…”
“For the building on West 56th Street, for everyone in there, for every single person in there,” says wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. “That’s who we’ve got to do it for. For the fans, for everybody that supports the shoe.”
The journey begins in Anderson in July.
It ends in Houston in February.
The Colts will give all they’ve got.
For the shoe.