Colts Training Camp Notebook: Running Back Drama, Owner Irsay Speaks as Colts Prepare for Regular Season

This year's trip to Indianapolis Colts Training Camp presented by: Dubois County Tire & Supply, Gaslight Restaurant, Spencer County Bank, St. Anthony Tire, Uebelhor Chevy, Cadillac, Toyota, and Uebelhor TV.

By Kris Norton

Westfield - The Indianapolis Colts were left with as many questions as answers by the conclusion of the first weekend of training camp at Grand Park in Westfield.

In addition to regularly-scheduled media sessions for coaches and players, the ongoing contract extension dispute between star Running Back Jonathan Taylor and Colts' brass loomed overhead.

In the following notebook - quotes, pictures, and storylines from a weekend on location.

Colts Owner Jim Irsay addresses media after Saturday's training camp practice.

Jonathan Taylor Contract Dispute

The well-documented saga of Colts' Running Back Jonathan Taylor desire for a new contract extension came to a head on Saturday night. Taylor, who began training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP), met with Irsay in a team bus in a property adjacent to Grand Park's practice fields.

Across the NFL, running backs have balked at contract offers received from their respective teams - citing their wages not growing proportionally to other top positions (Quarterback, primarily). Yet, as of Saturday, Irsay stated that the team had not yet extended an extension offer.

While the Colts have re-signed other top playmakers ahead of their final contracted year - Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard - Irsay says that there is not set timeline on when to sign players under their rookie contract.

"There's no right time. There's no wrong time," Irsay stated.

Shortly after Irsay stepped away from the media session, NFL Network's Ian Rappaport, who was in attendance on Saturday, reported that Jonathon Taylor had officially requested a trade.

The two sides have continued to communicate, and disagree on social media.

Colts team bus outside the endzone-side gates at Grand Park.

Day One Starting Quarterback Up in the Air

For the seventh consecutive season, the Indianapolis Colts will have a new quarterback under center in Week 1, that much is known. Unknown, is who that will be.

Free agent signee Gardner Minshew and fourth overall draft pick Anthony Richardson have been competing for both the spot and reps during the first week of camp.

Colts QBs in red jerseys, left to right: Sam Ehlinger (4), Anthony Richardson (5), and Gardner Minshew (10)

Many wondered how quickly the Colts would bring Richardson, a rookie signal-caller whom started only 13 games in college, along. Head Coach Shane Steichen let the rookie take the reigns - Richardson received the initial first-team reps over both days. In the second day, Richardson connected on back-to-back completions with Isaiah McKenzie, then Kylen Granson. He would finish the first session of Day 2 with only one incompletion. On Day 1, it was a 60-yard touchdown pass to second-year Wide Receiver Alec Pierce that excited the crowd of 750.

During his time at the microphone, veteran Center Ryan Kelly spoke on Richardson's progression.

"From where he was at in OTAs to where he was today, calling plays in the huddle, the enthusiasm, the command of that huddle - I thought was incredible," Kelly said.

Colts Center Ryan Kelly answers questions during Friday's training camp media session.

Reported Monday, Richardson missed practice for what the team called a "nasal procedure".

Rookie Progression

While most attention, locally and nationally, has been directed at Colts rookie Quarterback Anthony Richardson, it was his training camp roommate's turn at the microphone on Friday.

Rookie Wide Receiver Josh Downs speaks on his relationship with Coach Reggie Wayne.

Former North Carolina standout Josh Downs, who is rooming with Richardson for camp, says he's making the most of his chance to bond with his fellow rookie.

"I tell him how open I'll be," Downs laughed.

For advice on how to adjust to the NFL, or to the Indianapolis Colts, Downs doesn't have to look far for Colts Coach Reggie Wayne.

"Getting little pointers here and there... He was All-Pro, should be Gold Jacket... Anything he says, I pretty much listen," Downs said. 

Outside of Richardson and Downs, the 2023 rookie class has had a relatively quiet training camp to date. Cornerbacks Juju Brents and Darius Rush have dealt with injuries in the offseason. Brents, a Warren Central standout, has yet to practice. Rush and Brents will be called upon in the secondary following last season's trade of Stephon Gillmore and the gambling suspension of Isaiah Rodgers.

Returning From Injury

All-Pro Linebacker Shaq (Formerly Darius) Leonard made his return to training camp after lingering back woes sidelined him for the better portion of two years. 

Punter Rigoberto Sanchez, returning from a torn Achilles Tendon in 2022, sent his first punt 60 yards downfield - the kick was met by cheers from teammates and fans, alike.

The Colts continue training camp in Grand Park in Westfield ahead of the regular season, looking to bounce back from a 4-12-1 campaign.