The Indianapolis Colts will return to their game-day home Wednesday for an open 5:30 p.m. mini-camp practice at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Gates open at 2 p.m. and fans can participate in a variety of activities before players arrive to sign autographs at 5 p.m. They’ll also sign autographs after the workout.
The Colts last had this open practice in 2013, when an estimated crowd of 10,000 attended.
“It will be great to be in front of the fans,” quarterback Andrew Luck said Tuesday. “It will be great to be at Lucas Oil. It’s been a long time for all of us since being on that field. It’s nice for the fans to come and watch.”
It’s the first look fans will get at some of the new players, most notably wide receiver Andre Johnson, running back Frank Gore, outside linebacker Trent Cole, defensive end Kendall Langford and a rookie class led by wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, a first-round draft choice.
Johnson, among the recent free-agent signings, never won in the building while with the Houston Texans. His old team has never won at Indianapolis, dating back to the RCA Dome days.
“It will be very different,” said Johnson, a 13-year NFL veteran. “I don’t know. I don’t really know what to expect. So far, just being around the city, I’ve been welcomed very well by the fans, from the airport or wherever they see me. They tell me they’re happy I’m here. They’ve been great so far so I’m pretty sure they’ll be great (Wednesday night).”
Johnson said he didn’t hate the place, despite the annual AFC South Division losses.
“Every time I came up here, I tried to win,” he said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. All that is in the past now. It’s a new start. I’m excited about the opportunity and can’t wait to get it going.”
It’s the middle practice of the Colts’ three-day mini-camp workouts. The normal practices at the team complex aren’t open to the public. The next look fans will have at the 2015 team will be when players report for training camp on Aug. 1 at Anderson University.
“Our players love it, the coaches love it,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “It’s a chance for a lot of our families to get down there and get around the team. It’s great for the fans. Anytime you can change the venue up a little bit and get on a bus and head down to the stadium, under the lights so to speak whatever, it’s always a good thing.
“The guys are excited. Staff is excited about it and again, I think it’ll be a great opportunity for, I think we’ve got the greatest fans in the National Football League. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for them to come out and for some people that maybe don’t ever get a chance to see their team play for whatever reason, some circumstances. So it’ll be a great opportunity for them to take a peek and get a glimpse of what this 2015 version of this team might be.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.