9:43 PM EDT, September 4, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS - He wasn't apart of it-and frankly he's not interested in trying to imagine what it was like.
Cory Redding is completely devoted to the future and the positives it may present as his Colts career begins.
"That was last year. That’s in the past. We look forward to the future," said Redding of the team's rough 2011 campaign. "We look forward to what we got going down the road. This (locker) room is electrified by who is in here, playmakers, veterans, the leadership.
"That’s what we are really, truly happy about."
Especially those who were around for the 2-14 record of a year ago when the play on the field was compounded by the almost circus-like speculation that surrounded Peyton Manning.
From his first neck surgery in May of 2011 till his eventual release by the Colts in March of 2012, constant reports that often contradicted one another poured in as Manning's time out increased.
Rumors of when he may return to even reports of an overseas trip for stem cell treatments made for an unusual amount of tension outside of the struggling product on the field.
That along with Manning's departure and an upheaval of the coaching staff and players have helped to create a unique fresh start for the drama overloaded team.
"We’re not going to talk about what happened last year," said cornerback Jerraud Powers. "If we went 16-0 last year, we still wouldn’t be talking about that this year. This is a new season, new team, everything is new about the Colts."
But the same type of problem is now affecting their first opponent of this new era of Indianapolis football. It all surrounds linebacker Brian Urlacher, the leader of the Bears defense who is likely headed for the NFL Hall of Fame once his career is done.
As Manning had with his neck Urlacher has had with his left knee. He injured it late in the Bears' 2011 regular season finale at Minnesota and it's healing has been troublesome.
Training camp came around and still no definitive word on his condition was out as Urlacher and the Bears remained coy about what his true prognosis was. On August 14th the linebacker had a arthroscopic knee surgery and the frenzy only intensified.
A few days later the Chicago Tribune reported that Urlacher earlier in the summer traveled to Germany for an experimental knee treatment that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Again the Bears and Urlacher refused to confirm or deny the report.
"I went to Europe last year, we played in London," said the linebacker in jokingly evading the inquiry.
As it did many times with the Colts and their head coach Jim Caldwell, the speculation wore thin on Lovie Smith during the course of training camp.
"We're not gonna respond to every article or every person that comes out here and says something," said Smith of the Urlacher situation. "If we have information, we'll give it to you."
Unlike Manning, however, it appears the drama will not drag out too far into the season. Urlacher returned to practice on Monday and now appears he will be on the field Sunday against the Colts.
"He had a good first day back, he's got to get in shape, I'm sure he'll tell you that," said Smith on Monday. "He's right back on schedule."
If only the Colts could have uttered such words twelve months ago.