As LovinBlue wrote about over the weekend (happy belated birthday, by the way), PhilB of the Indianapolis Star reported that Anthony Gonzalez did not participate in Saturday's mini-camp. He stood on the sidelines in a cap for the event, which was open to the public and held at Lucas Oil Stadium. Check out teej813's FanPost for some great pics. I first heard about Gonzo's long before PhilB wrote about it. Eric Hartz at Colt Power Tweeted on the subject live during practice.
So, what does it mean?
Well, for starters, it probably means this whole Gonzalez is 100% healthy thing is simply not the case. Of course, it is possible the Colts held him out simply because they wanted to "rest" him, or something along those lines. It sort of goes along with what Bob Sanders discussed at a recent press conference on June 4th:
Things are always done for a reason around here. If there’s a guy who’s not practicing, there’s a reason why he’s not practicing. We may not all know it, and there are some times you might see a teammate who is healthy and you know he’s healthy and might not be practicing, but there’s a reason. We don’t look into those things around here, we just take care of the things we can take care of as an individual player and work on getting better.
No offense, but I don't buy that regarding Gonzalez.
Holding him out of a very public mini-camp practice doesn't seem to make much sense if the team is simply resting him. I won't get into the oddness of "resting" players during the off-season, but when the team is making a concerted effort to reach out to the public and show off the 2010 team, having a player like Gonzalez (who has battled injuries for some time now) running around in a practice would have gone a long way to dispelling rumors that he is not 100%.
With Gonzo not participating, those rumors have returned.
Also, this camp was a mandatory event for all players the Colts hold rights to. For someone like Gonzo, who is really trying to find his place on a roster loaded with wide receivers, sitting out a mini-camp practice because he needed "rest" simply does not make logical sense.
Obviously, I have no "proof" on whether Gonzo is hurt or not. All I have is info people give me, and my own (somewhat) logical brain. That brain tells me that, very often, healthy players practice in mini-camp and hurt players do not. Since the Colts are annoyingly cryptic on even the most basic injury news, this is all I can go by. I mean, unless the Colts plan to trade Gonzalez, what harm would it do to simply tell people that he is not 100%, but is getting there? By them not saying this (which is probably the reason Gonzo sat out Saturday), it leads people to think he's had yet another set back. Meanwhile, the two guys who were not rested, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, continue to get more practice reps. They continue to build on their very strong 2009 seasons, and right now they are likely ahead of Gonzo in a pecking order.
While I'm sure everyone would just LOVE to re-visit our wonderful "Gonzo is the fourth WR" discussion, I'll simply re-state that he likely enters training camp at Anderson as the #4 receiver. Despite Reggie Wayne acting like a schmuck with this contract holdout crap, he won't have his job taken from him in training camp. Meanwhile, the seemingly healthier Garcon and Collie will remain at the positions they played at last year while Gonzo is the primary back-up for all three WR positions.
To show you I'm not crazy in thinking this, Evan Silva at PFT agrees that Gonzo's status entering camp is likely as 4th WR. The positive out of this is that the Colts are loaded at receiver, regardless of who starts and who doesn't. According to Peyton Manning in a June 4th press conference, that is not a bad thing:
"I wouldn’t tag it as a problem. I think we have a chance to be as deep as we ever have been with receivers. I’d say close to Marvin (Harrison,) (Brandon) Stokely, Reggie (Wayne), Troy Walters, (that) was a very deep group and I think even Aaron Moorehead was number five that year and made some deep plays for us. Certainly it’s got a chance to be a deep group, all guys that bring something a little different to the table. I think there will be some good, healthy competition and we will find ways to get all those guys on the field and working and keeping pressure on the defense. You look at other teams in the league adding corners trying to stop passing attacks, and at wide receiver you want to be more efficient, more accurate in the passing game to try and counter that. That will be our goal this year."