After a tremendous summer school and mini-camp, 3rd-year middle linebacker Gary Brackett was heading into training camp as the starter at that position.
Today's signing of 6th-year veteran Rob Morris doesn't change that one bit.
He received a phone call from Colts President Bill Polian on Tuesday out of respect and concern as to how he might interpret the news. Monday evening, ColtPower was the first media site to break the story that indicated Morris was returning to Indianapolis, and the Colts were anxious to get the news to Brackett prior to more media outlets picking up on the news.
According to a source close to Brackett, Polian made it clear to Brackett that the Colts were very pleased with Brackett's showing with the first-string, and assured him that if he continued to play at that level there should be no reason that he wouldn't be the starter when the season kicked off this fall.
The Colts also made it clear that the primary reason for the Morris signing was due to concerns over depth. The Colts were down to just two middle linebackers -- Brackett and Kendyll Pope, who was converted from strongside linebacker during this year's summer school workouts. Pope was injured most of his rookie season in 2004, so he has limited game experience at any position.
The other middle linebacker candidates included Keyon Whiteside and Dominique Sims (both released last week) and rookie Tyjuan Hagler who will be on the team's physically unable to perform list due to a sports hernia injury.
A leader on the field and in the locker room, Brackett handled the news with his usual dignity and class. ColtPower learned that his reaction to Morris' signing was that if this is what would help the Colts better position themselves for a Super Bowl win, he was all for it. And as a player who has scrapped for everything he has achieved throughout his career, he welcomed the challenge.
Morris returns to the team after a tumultuous offseason where he received limited interest from other NFL teams. He will return to the Colts with a one-year $540,000 contract -- the league minimum for a player with 4-6 years of pro experience -- and a $25,000 signing bonus.
And he should return a bit humbled by this offseason experience. Based on his comments, it's clear that he understands that he is not returning as the starter heading into training camp.
"...I'd really like the opportunity to play a little bit more," Morris said. "So I'll work for that and compete and hopefully get that opportunity."
Brackett's Reaction to the Morris Signing
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