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20.01.2020 07:21
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Colts general Antworten

manager Chris Ballard reverted to his old free-agent playbook.He re-signed his own players first.Instead of making a big first-day splash Ryan Kelly Color Rush Jersey , he barely made a ripple on the second day. And he’s probably not finished yet.As the first big wave of free-agency signings were announced Wednesday, Ballard made two under-the-radar moves — re-signing backup cornerback Chris Milton a one-year deal and bringing back starting cornerback Pierre Desir with a three-year deal — before signing former Carolina receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year deal Thursday.It’s all part of the grand plan.“We have a very strict criterion of what we want to bring in,” Ballard said recently. “We want players that want to get better, want to be great, want to be a part of the team, that are willing to sacrifice sometimes their individual stats for the betterment of winning and being a good teammate. If they fit into that criterion, absolutely they’ll fit in.”After taking some risks last season, Ballard is betting on Funchess, Carolina’s second-round pick in 2015. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he gives Andrew Luck a bigger receiver than he’s worked with in the past.And if Funchess replicates what he did in 2017, when he caught 63 passes for 840 yards and eight touchdowns, he could emerge as the perfect complement to three Pro Bowl pass-catchers already on the roster: receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight ends Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle.Last year, though, Funchess regressed. He had 44 receptions for 549 yards and four TDs and reinforced his reputation for drops. So Ballard reportedly gave Funchess a $10 million deal that could go up to as much as $13 million.“I think the Colts are a great fit and I think they’re ready to take that next step,” Funchess said Thursday during a conference call. “I think if we win the Super Bowl, everything will take care of itself.”Ballard has made this journey before.A year ago, he gambled on Ebron, the Detroit Lions’ underachieving first-round pick from 2014. Ebron wound up catching more touchdown passes in 2018 than any tight end in the league and made his first Pro Bowl appearance.Every move doesn’t pay off, though. Ballard also signed Ryan Grant, the Washington Redskins’ 2014 fifth-round pick, last year. Indy expected Grant would emerge as the No. 2 receiver. Instead , Grant’s playing time steadily dwindled.Now, Ballard is at it again, this time with Funchess, Carolina’s second-round pick in 2015 — though it’s not a terribly risky move.The Colts went into free agency with the most cap space in the league and if Funchess doesn’t work out, the Colts could let him walk away next year and recoup all of their cap room — just like they did with Grant.But the Colts’ more important moves might have come before free agency opened Wednesday.Kicker Adam Vinatieri, the league’s career scoring leader, signed a one-year deal worth $3.875 million in January. Right guard Mark Glowinski agreed to a three-year, $16.2 million deal in February — a move that keeps Indy’s offensive line intact after allowing a league-low 18 sacks in 2018.Last week, versatile defensive tackle Margus Hunt decided to stay in Indy after the best season of his career. His two-year deal is worth $9 million. On Wednesday, Ballard brought back Desir back for three years at $25 million and Milton, a key backup and special teams player. Desir recorded 79 tackles in 12 starts last season.And Ballard has said he would like to keep oft-injured Clayton Geathers — if he can.“We are going to make some tweaks to our program internally, but our mission will never change,” Ballard said. “Everything we do matters. Our building understands that.” INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Adam Vinatieri sits at one end of the Indianapolis Colts‘ locker room, his expanding white beard nearly a perfect match to his helmet and jersey.He doesn't listen to the hip-hop music in the background, doesn't pretend to understand the shiny, new electronic gadgets everyone else plays with and certainly doesn't pay much attention to the trends outside these walls. Yet in Vinatieri's mind, this is still the perfect spot.Here, in a league known for being traditionally unkind to "old" men, the 46-year-old kicker feels comfortable retelling playoff yarns, discussing union business, even offering informal personal advice to teammates who, in some cases literally come from a different generation. "He seems like he's the same age he was when I first came in here and I guess that's been eight years Peyton Manning Jersey ," left tackle Anthony Castonzo said Thursday. "That's pretty impressive, eight years, going through your early 40s that you don't really seem any older. I'm always impressed with how he's able to hang out with the young guys and be one of the guys despite being old enough to be one of our dads."Sure there are increasing signs of Vinatieri's advancing age.In addition to the graying hairs, his oldest son, A.J., served as a ball boy at training camp last summer. Vinatieri's nephew, Chase, recently completed his junior season at South Dakota State, where the elder Vinatieri also played. The league's oldest active player now co-owns an IndyCar developmental series race team with Dr. Jack Miller, a neighbor and three-time Indianapolis 500 starter.Make no mistake: Vinatieri is not gearing up for life after football just yet.If given the chance, he says he'd like to play 10 more years and if he continues outperforming guys half his age, he just might continue a record-breaking career that doesn't seem to be slowing down.In September, he passed Morten Andersen for the most career field goals in NFL history. A month later, he supplanted Andersen as the league's career scoring leader. Last week he joined Andersen, the late George Blanda and John Carney as the only players to appear in an NFL game after turning 46.And if things go as planned in Saturday's wild-card game at Houston (11-5), the NFL's career postseason scoring leader would take the first step toward joining former teammate Tom Brady and Hall of Fame pass rusher Charles Haley as the only players to win five Super Bowl rings."There's nothing like having the opportunity and being one of those teams still fighting to get into the Super Bowl," Vinatieri said earlier this week. "Every team starts the season with that goal and the ultimate goal is still out there in front of us."It's been a long slog back to the postseason for the greatest clutch kicker in league history.After making the playoffs in 11 of his first 15 pro seasons, Vinatieri's Colts failed to qualify four times in the next seven years, including three straight following a loss to the dreaded New England Patriots, Vinatieri's former team, in the 2014 AFC championship game.Twice during that span, the Colts changed general managers and coaches Al Woods Color Rush Jersey , and there were two major roster overhauls. Vinatieri survived both and is one of four active players left from Indy's last playoff appearance.Things didn't look any better when the Colts were 1-5. But Vinatieri helped spur a historic midseason turnaround as the Colts won nine of their last 10 to claim the AFC's final playoff spot by beating Tennessee and coach Mike Vrabel, one of Vinatieri's ex-teammates.Vinatieri celebrated by jogging off the field, pumping his fist like he had just made the postseason for the first time.Not surprisingly, first-year coach Frank Reich, who once played against Vinatieri, asked his most experienced player to give some insight to the playoff newbies."He just said, I've been in a lot of playoff situations myself and you've had a few more than me," Vinatieri said, describing the exchange. "Is there anything that you think needs to be shared? I think that's pretty awesome."He could have used his rings as props or punched in a highlight reel showing the two field goals he made in the snow to jump-start the Patriots' dynasty; the two Super Bowl-winning kicks; or the five kicks he made in Baltimore to keep the Colts' 2006 title hopes alive.Instead, Vinatieri delivered a simple message he learned long ago from Hall of Fame coaches Bill Parcells and Tony Dungy as well as Bill Belichick: If you try to do too much, your next loss could be your last.Especially at Vinatieri's age."There are no guarantees for any of us that there's a next day, a next year, anything. I've kind of always prepared myself thinking that way," he said. "There are no guarantees, and when you get to my age, you're absolutely right, your days are numbered."NOTES: Reich said receiver Ryan Grant (toe) and defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis (knee) would not play Saturday. He does expect T.Y. Hilton (ankle), a four-time Pro Bowl receiver, and center Ryan Kelly (stinger) to start. … Indy re-signed cornerback Jalen Collins to the practice squad and released defensive end Anthony Winbush on Thursday.

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