WESTFIELD, Ind. – Training camp 2023 didn’t go quietly into a beautiful August evening.
In fact, at least five or six skirmishes/fights offered the backdrop as the Indianapolis Colts’ summer camp at Grand Park Sports Campus ended Thursday with a second joint practice with the Chicago Bears.
Two dustups occurred in 11-on-11 work, involved the No. 2 units and featured veteran tight end Pharaoh Brown on consecutive snaps. Brown’s second push-and-shove incident resulted in Shane Steichen pulling the Colts’ veteran tight end from the rest of practice.
Not surprisingly, the biggest scrum erupted on a kick return. Something untoward happened as the Colts’ kick returner reached the Indy sideline, and roughly 20 players – Colts and Bears – converged. It took a few minutes for civility to return.
Thursday’s antics were in stark contrast to the previous evening when actions were more controlled.
On the field, neither offense was on top of its game. Anthony Richardson unofficially finished 5-of-9 in teamwork, and penalties pestered the Colts for a second night.
During low-red zone team drills that began at the 12, two Richardson TD passes – one to Josh Downs, the other to Michael Pittman Jr. – were waved off by illegal formation penalties. Steichen didn’t seem to agree with either.
Much of the Colts’ red-zone work highlighted Richardson’s threat as a runner. A few times, he delivered a pass after his read-option work with the running back. Several times, he kept the ball and worked his way through the Bears’ defense.
A defensive highlight saw safety Nick Cross deflect a Justin Fields pass, and linebacker E.J. Speed intercept it.
Shaq held out
Shaquille Leonard had participated in the first 12 practices, but was held out of Thursday’s work. Steichen was not available to the local media after practice, so the reason for Leonard not practicing wasn’t known.
The All-Pro linebacker has been making steady progress on his return for November back surgery.
Wideout Mike Strachan was unable to finish practice. He watched with a wrap on his leg/groin. Also, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones had a wrap on his right foot after practice. Seals-Jones limped off the field after delivering a big hit on a kickoff return.
Real thing Saturday
After the two joint practices, the Colts and Bears meet Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
With no access to Steichen after practice, there’s no indication how much Richardson, the starting offense and the front-line defensive players might play.
That wasn’t the case with the Bears.
Coach Matt Eberflus announced Fields and selected starters will not play in each team’s second preseason game.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.