The Indianapolis Colts announced on Tuesday that the team will be hosting the Carolina Panthers for joint training camp practices ahead of the two squads’ Week 1, preseason matchup on Sunday, August 15th at Lucas Oil Stadium:
“The practices will take place at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind. on Thursday, Aug. 12 and Friday, Aug. 13 in advance of the teams’ preseason game on Sunday, Aug. 15 at Lucas Oil Stadium,” via Colts.com.
“This will be the eighth time the Colts have participated in joint practices with another team as they did so with the Cleveland Browns (2019), Baltimore Ravens (2018), Detroit Lions (2017), Chicago Bears (2015), Tennessee Titans (2000) and St. Louis Rams (1997, 1999). Indianapolis hosted Cleveland (2019) and Baltimore (2018) at Grand Park Sports Campus. The joint practices with Detroit and Chicago were hosted at the Colts’ Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.”
Ironically, back in 2018, then Baylor University head coach Matt Rhule was one of the top candidates (and an ‘outside-the-box’ one) that Colts general manager Chris Ballard initially interviewed before the latter elected to remain at the college ranks coaching the Bears.
The Colts *hired New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in 2018 before he shockingly reneged—then the team ultimately pivoted to current head coach Frank Reich, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Meanwhile, Rhule ended up becoming the Panthers head coach ahead of last season—after two more seasons coaching in Waco, Texas.
Still, it appears as though perhaps Ballard and Rhule have maintained a positive professional relationship still from afar, and that could be one of the contributing reasons why the two teams are connecting for a few training camp practices ahead of this year’s preseason.
It’s a good way to ‘test a team’s might’ outside of constantly going up against your own teammates—where things can get repetitive, predictable, and stagnant, and an even better way to avoid ‘friendly fire’ during practices—by being able to ‘ramp’ it up a little.