The Colts spent Tuesday’s practice under the lights in their lone evening practice.
Jim Irsay was in attendance and said how last season’s underwhelming finish had more to do with injuries than any internal dissension.
“It wasn’t that there was some distraction or lame-duck status or Ryan or Chuck’s relationship was difficult so that made us struggle. Really, it was more of a year where our franchise quarterback got hurt. If that didn’t happen, who knows what kind of year we would have had.”
Meanwhile, Irsay said he is excited and honored to be inducting Marvin Harrison into the Hall of Fame this weekend and is looking forward to the Colts being featured in the Hall of Fame Game against the Green Bay Packers.
It will be a celebration of both the past and present.
That’s the agenda this weekend in Canton, Ohio, birthplace of the NFL.
First, the past is saluted with the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday at 7:00 PM ET (NFL Network and ESPN). History will be at the forefront as the Hall of Fame class of 2016 is inducted, sporting their new gold Hall jackets in front of returning Hall of Famers and thousands of fans.
“This is a wonderfully spectacular tradition, one of the greatest in all of sports,” says Hall of Fame president DAVID BAKER. “Nowhere can fans see so many of the greatest heroes of the game in one place at one time. There’s no better way to kick off the NFL season.”
The Hall of Fame class of 2016:
Edward DeBartolo, Jr.
|Tony Dungy||Coach||1996-2001 Buccaneers, 2002-08 Colts|
|Brett Favre||QB||1991 Falcons, 1992-2007 Packers, 2008 Jets, 2009-10 Vikings|
|Kevin Greene||LB/DE||1985-1992 Rams, 1993-95 Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Panthers, 1997 49ers|
|Marvin Harrison||WR||1996-2008 Colts|
|Orlando Pace||T||1997-2008 Rams, 2009 Bears|
|Ken Stabler||QB||1970-79 Raiders, 1980-81 Oilers, 1982-84 Saints|
|Dick Stanfel||G||1952-55 Lions, 1956-58 Redskins|
“…AND NOW, TO PRESENT…”
Always of interest are the names of the “presenters” of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees on their special day.
BRETT FAVRE selected his wife DEANNA FAVRE to represent him, only the second time a wife will present her husband during the enshrinement ceremony. KIM SINGLETARY, wife of Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE SINGLETARY, served as a presenter in 1998.
“Deanna is the best teammate I’ve ever had,” says Favre. “She has been by my side throughout this journey and I’m so excited that she gets to play such an important role for me.”
The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2016 presenters:
Edward DeBartolo, Jr.
|Tony Dungy||Donnie Shell||Teammate|
|Brett Favre||Deanna Favre||Wife|
|Kevin Greene||Dom Capers||Coach|
|Marvin Harrison||Jim Irsay||Indianapolis Colts Owner|
|Orlando Pace||Justin Pace||Son|
|Ken Stabler||John Madden||Coach|
|Dick Stanfel||Marv Levy||Coach|
Then on Sunday night, it’s back to football with the first game of the year – the annual NFL/Hall of Fame Game at 8:00 PM ET at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on ESPN – when the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers meet.
Sunday marks the debut of the NFL’s new rules governing touchbacks on kickoffs. For the 2016 season, after a touchback resulting from a kickoff or safety kick, the ball will now be placed at the receiving team’s 25-yard line.
The NFL/Hall of Fame Game will cap a memorable weekend for Colts and Packers fans one night after three of their famed legends are formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Longtime Packers quarterback Brett Favre and former head coach TONY DUNGY and wide receiver MARVIN HARRISON are among the eight-man class of inductees.
“I always talked during our era that, not only was it great, but it was so entertaining,” says Colts owner JIM IRSAY about the impact Dungy and Harrison had on the organization’s history. “Those were really special guys on those teams.”
The Colts appearance will mark the fifth time the team has played in the NFL/Hall of Fame Game (1964, 1982, 1996, 2008).
“Everybody is going to play,” says Indianapolis head coach CHUCK PAGANO on whether the extra game will alter the players’ workload. “Every practice, every game and every snap that these guys take is going to define and determine roles. It is going to be great to cut these guys loose against a great organization and a great football team like the Green Bay Packers.”
Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS is looking forward to seeing his former teammate honored in Canton.
“It’s exciting for Brett and it is fun to be able to be out there and to see him put that jacket on is going to be really special,” says Rodgers. “To join the ranks of the greatest players off all time in our sport is pretty amazing and I’m really happy for him.”
The Packers will play in the preseason classic for the fifth time in franchise history (1969, 1980, 1993, 2003).
“The young guys are going to have more opportunities,” says Green Bay head coach MIKE MC CARTHY of playing in the Hall of Fame Game. “The fifth preseason game, nobody’s going to benefit from that more than those guys.”
Former Colts running back Trent Richardson was waived by the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday.
Since being drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Richardson was traded to the Colts in 2013 before bouncing around to the Raiders and then Ravens. He has yet to have a 1,000 yards rushing in a season and had a career average of 3.6 yards per carry.
Meanwhile, former Colts’ defensive end Dwight Freeney will reportedly sign a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.