ColtPower Newswire

As great opportunity looms on the horizon for a number of Colts rookies at training camp, a Hall of Famer passes away. A preseason review of the Colts, Mike Vanderjagt gets even more focused for 2005, and the Titans step forward to help the Colts. Keep reading for all the details!

Colts Hall of Famer Jim Parker, who had been battling complications from diabetes, died on Monday in a nursing home at age 71. The first full-time offensive lineman elected to the Hall of Fame, Parker set the standard for offensive linemen, playing half of his career at tackle and half of it guard for Colts. The Colts organization has eight surviving members in the Hall of Fame out of eleven players and coaches. The other two deceased members are quarterback Johnny Unitas and head coach Weeb Ewbank.

Camp opens in roughly one week and the Colts only have kicker Dave Rayner signed. And while they undoubtedly will have the bulk of them squared away at a furious rate over the upcoming days, the player they need in camp the most on day one -- CB Marlin Jackson -- could become a timing casualty.

Until the dominoes fall in front of him and he sees what the other Colts are getting, he likely won't be anxious to ink a deal. By the time the Colts get the others squared away, it will be a huge challenge to get Jackson into camp on time. But perhaps Jackson will see some motivation to get a deal done as he eyes the team's August 3rd departure to play in the Tokyo Bowl on national television. And if there's anyone who has the talent to finalize all of these deals in a week's time, it's Colts President Bill Polian. But that's still a huge task to accomplish in that timeframe.

Sports Illustrated has put their up on their website. While some of it will seem a bit of a yawn for Colts fans who keep up with the team such as, "If a long-term deal can't be worked out between James and the Colts before the end of the year, the chances are pretty good that he will test the free-agent waters," (gee, you think?), there are some interesting points in the right column of the article marked "Outside the Huddle." My favorite is them pointing to the 2004 Athlon Preseason issue where they predicted a big year for Reggie Wayne, but missed on "Adding Bob Sanders to the mix at safety should give the Colts some much-needed toughness against the run." Hopefully that prediction will be more accurate for the 2005 season with Sanders getting a full training camp under his belt and hopefully better health during the season.

Some of the best news for the Colts came out of Tennessee this week. And Bill Polian should send the Buffalo Bills a big fruit basket and a note of thanks. According to Bills RB Travis Henry, he's heading to play for the rebuilding Titans this season -- the result of a trade where Tennessee sent a third-round pick to Buffalo. His addition to a Tennessee team that was severely gutted through free agency won't be that significant. Tennessee will still be a longshot to be much more than a .500 team. But Jacksonville had hoped to land Henry due to question marks surrounding Fred Taylor's health. And while they were still talking about pursuing Henry, the Titans and Bills got a deal completed. The Jaguars are the most serious contenders for the Colts to deal with, and the addition of Henry would have given them a viable option should Taylor not play to his full potential this season.

Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt is in the final year of a contract tha will count $2.87 million against the Colts salary cap. And with the Colts using a 6th-round pick on Michigan State Dave Rayner, Vanderjagt is using the time in between summer school and training camp to fine-tune his kicking technique. He's hired and been working with Dallas Cowboys kicking coach Steve Hoffman, who has a great track record for developing relatively unknown NFL kickers. Whether the contract or Rayner (or both) is the reason for Vanderjagt striving to regain his old form, the bottom line is that the Colts should benefit during the 2005 season.


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