The Indianapolis Colts' starting lineup this season will feature eight players over the age of 30, but the team hopes a combination of veteran smarts and a limit on practice time will make sure everyone is healthy enough to contribute to the team's Super Bowl push all year long.
While some players slow down in their 30s, the Colts group of veterans show no signs and don't see why they should.
"I didn't really change anything as far as working out or training or anything. I continue to train the same way," 34-year-old wide receiver Andre Johnson said, via ESPN. "It gets a little tougher. You never understand when you're younger that your body starts to respond when you get over the age of 30, but I started to understand that a few years ago."
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For running back Frank Gore, he continues to measure himself by working out with younger players in the offseason. Thus far, he's had no trouble keeping up.
"When everybody else is in the offseason traveling to the Bahamas or Aruba and going here and going there and getting on boats and doing things like that, that guy is down in Miami grinding," head coach Chuck Pagano said. "He takes great care of his body. You go down to the University of Miami and probably go into the weight room during the offseason during those six weeks off, and you'll probably see him in their working out and running. He's always running. First day he got here I had to take him off the bike so that we could go sit down and visit."
That being said, the Colts are still taking a conservative approach to veteran practice time in an effort to keep the group fresh for the regular season. It's part of what Pagano calls "practice modification" and results in either days off or decreased reps for Johnson, Gore, and the rest of the over-30 crowd.
Not that Johnson is happy about it.
"They told me in training camp that they were going to have a plan for me," Johnson said. "I didn't find out about it until I got here. It is what it is. I understand it, after being in the league for so long. I don't really worry about it. When my days are here to work I go out and do what I have to do."
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