The Indianapolis Colts have made a decision on where to hold training camp, and they won’t be going far.
For the first time ever, they’ll be staying at home in Indianapolis, holding practices at the team’s West 56th Street complex. This means, however, that practices will be closed to fans, though there they will have two off-site practices that will give fans a chance to watch practice (something that probably just helps with the PR announcement of closing camp after three decades).
“Anderson University and the people of Anderson have been incredibly gracious and enthusiastic hosts,” Jim Irsay said in a statement issued by the team. “The dynamics of NFL training camps have changed through the years, and more teams are staying at home. Last summer, with weather being a factor, we practiced only 11 times in Anderson. While our camp plans beyond 2017 are uncertain, staying home this summer should help us with future determinations.”
This is obviously a significant break in the team’s training camp tradition, as they’ve always been off-site for camp since moving to Indianapolis in 1984. From 1984 through 1998 they held camp at Anderson University, then moved to Terre Haute to hold camp at Rose-Hulman for several years from 1999 through 2009. In 2010, the Colts moved back to Anderson and have held camp there every year since, but it was reported earlier this offseason that they were exploring their options and wouldn’t return to Anderson.
According to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder, the Colts were “very close” to an agreement with DePauw University in Greencastle as the site of training camp “before abruptly backing out” for unknown reasons.
Ultimately, they reached the decision to stay at home for camp, news that will probably disapoint some fans who liked the summer tradition of watching a Colts practice. Logistically, however, the Colts must have decided that it’s just easier to hold camp at their own facility - something that more and more teams have been doing over the years.
One person who’s not a fan of the move? Former Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne:
So I'm hearing the Colts will hold training camp at home this year. That'll suck... I loved going somewhere else to practice.— Reggie Wayne (@ReggieWayne_17) March 3, 2017