Colts stars Wayne, Mathis show up to camp, avoid holdout

ANDERSON, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Colts finally got down to business Monday.

First-round draft pick Jerry Hughes signed his contract. Robert Mathis put on the pads, and Reggie Wayne apologized to his teammates.

Yes, it's starting to look like a Colts training camp.

"I thought about it (holding out), but it's bigger than me," Wayne said. "I had already let my teammates down once."

The contrite Pro Bowler wasn't going to let that happen again.

Wayne, who was beaten to the ball that Tracy Porter picked off and returned for the game-sealing touchdown in the Colts' Super Bowl loss to the New Orleans Saints, said he wrestled with the decision to come to training camp or hold out. When he woke up Sunday morning, he thought back to the practice tapes he had been watching all summer.

"I thought it was weird not seeing No. 87 out there," Wayne said, drawing laughter. "Yes, I understand the picture, I understand all of the pictures. But I want you to understand my picture. It is what it is, and the fact is I'm still under contract. I've got two years left, and I'm going to go do my job."

That's all the Colts can ask now that their three biggest questions heading into camp have been resolved.

Mathis, like Wayne, wanted to redo the final two years on his deal. He also skipped the Colts' offseason activities, including a mandatory three-day June minicamp. But the Pro Bowl defensive end said Monday that he's content to play under his current deal.

"After a certain point, you don't let it be a distraction. You come in and take care of business," Mathis said. "I never really thought about not coming (to camp). In the end, it was about my teammates."

Hughes' situation was different.

Drafted No. 31 overall, the rookie defensive end from TCU spent most of the weekend waiting for his agent and Colts president Bill Polian to finish haggling over the final details of a five-year deal.

After the morning practice, Colts coach Jim Caldwell said he expected to see Hughes in the afternoon. Hughes barely made it, making it for the final 30 minutes.

"It's done," Hughes said. "All I've got to do now is look forward to playing football and helping the Colts win."

Hughes could have a big impact in Indianapolis' defense.

Like Mathis and Pro Bowl end Dwight Freeney, Hughes is a speedy pass rusher, and he could play linebacker in the scheme that defensive coordinator Larry Coyer introduced last season. If the Colts find a way to put all three on the field at the same time, quarterbacks had best beware.

The Colts also got more good news.

Wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez and safety Bob Sanders both practiced Monday after missing almost all of last season with injuries. For Sanders, it marked only the second time since 2006 that he didn't start the year on the physically unable to perform list. The other year was 2007, when he was named the NFL's defensive player of the year.

"I think the guys did a great job stepping into my place last year. They played great and it's a great team," Sanders said. "But it feels good to be back."

Especially for Wayne, who has big plans for this training camp.

"I had something planned," Wayne said when asked about how he intended to arrive at camp Sunday. "I'm not saying what it was because I may still do something. Stay tuned."

To make room for Hughes on the roster, the Colts put tight end Tom Santi on the waived-injured list.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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