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Colts solve one mystery although Simon's status remains unclear

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) -Corey Simon's mysterious absence from the Indianapolis Colts entered its second season Monday with no immediate resolution.

Nearly 10 months after the Colts put the former Pro Bowl selection on the non-football illness/injury list with an undisclosed ailment, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle was absent.

Published reports last week indicated Simon planned to report on time. But he wasn't seen on campus before the players' reporting deadline and was missing again when his teammates took the field for the first time Monday morning.

What's going on?

Even the Colts struggled to explain it. Team president Bill Polian said he was still waiting to hear if Simon passed the team physical. A few minutes later, coach Tony Dungy said Simon had failed the medical tests. Later in the afternoon, Simon's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, said he also had learned Simon had failed the physical.

"It's unexpected. Corey's in great shape," Barnes told The Associated Press. "He's ready to play. He's been ready to play. It's a mystery to me why he didn't pass the physical. When he talked to them Friday, they told him to pack enough clothes to stay until Sunday."

When asked what the Colts might do next, Dungy said, "There's a couple of different lists we can put him on based on when he might be able to play again."

Polian wouldn't say what the team might do, although he did acknowledge Indy had only two options if Simon were cleared to practice - keep him on the active roster or release him.

"We're awaiting word on some test results, and I don't want to address that right now," Polian said.

His status with Indianapolis was one of two prominent questions the Super Bowl champs faced as camp opened. The other, of course, was finding a replacement for recently retired left tackle Tarik Glenn, a three-time Pro Bowler who protected Peyton Manning's blind side the past nine years.

Rookie Tony Ugoh will get the first chance.

That's no surprise. Polian drafted Ugoh in the second round, expecting him to be Glenn's heir in 2008. Originally, Polian said Ugoh would play guard this season.

When Glenn retired, the plan changed.

"We drafted him to play that position and we think he'll be OK," Polian said. "Charlie (Johnson) will get some work there, (Dan) Federkeil will get some work there, but I'm sure the best five will be out there to start the season."

What it means for Ugoh is that he'll spend the next three weeks cramming - and there's plenty to learn.

From Manning's trademark audibles to the Colts' no-huddle offense to blocking one of the league's most feared pass rushers - Dwight Freeney - in practice, Ugoh will get a crash course in how to protect the Super Bowl MVP.

"There's no better preparation, and I enjoy working with him (Freeney)," Ugoh said. "But the system here is a lot more complex than what we did in college. My main concern now is learning the system and getting the system down."

Some speculated the Colts may start by putting a veteran on Manning's blind side, which would have meant moving either Johnson or Ryan Diem from the right side to the left.

Diem has started at right tackle each of the past four seasons.

Johnson, a second-year player from Oklahoma State, is best known for replacing the injured Diem in the Super Bowl and dropping what would have been a touchdown pass from Manning on a tackle eligible play last season.

But just because Ugoh's there now doesn't necessarily mean he'll be there on opening night against New Orleans.

"That's what training camp is all about," Dungy said. "We can say it's Peyton's job to lose or Marvin (Harrison's) job to lose, but we've got a lot of guys who can play out there. We've got a lot of guys who can play corner and a lot of guys who play linebacker."

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