Colts host Minnesota in their home opener on Sunday at 1 p.m.

FootballSportsAndrew LuckCoby FleenerLucas Oil StadiumNFLAustin Collie

Colts tight end Coby Fleener gave Andrew Luck his 23rd birthday present this afternoon, it was a ride to practice. The rookie quarterback is usually the one that does the driving so Fleener decided it was his turn to get behind the wheel. A nice gesture for someone who is all business, the birthday boys primary focus is getting a win in front of hometown fans this weekend.

"There will be a lot of energy. It will be a lot of fun to play in this stadium. Hopefully it’s fun for the fans. We’ll definitely feed off their excitement and their passion," said Luck who is chasing his first NFL regular season win.

The best gift the Colts can give Luck on Sunday against Minnesota is protection. He was on the run for most of week one's loss to Chicago and Luck was also sacked three times.

"Everyone has to play as a unit and we have to go ahead and get better in that aspect. As five we have to play together and feed off each other a little bit better," said offensive guard Mike McGlynn.

The Colts did address the problem right away signing offensive lineman Trai Essex on Monday. The former Pittsburgh Steeler practiced with the team for the first time on Wednesday and he could play in the home opener. Essex does have a solid working knowledge of the offense becasue he played under Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in Pittsburgh for seven seasons.

“I just found out this yesterday actually that I’m the second oldest guy on the offense. It’s just kind of crazy because I’ve always been the younger guy rather than older. Going from the youngest to the oldest is quite a jump but with that being said, I want to help mentor these young guys that are on the offensive line. Sort of a rock, a guy to look to that has been there before, done that. Also, make a new team for myself. I got cut in Pittsburgh, didn’t want to. I want to be one of those guys that they can depend on and know that whenever they call my number I’m going to provide to the best of my ability. I look at it as a new start and I got family here. It will be a nice way to end my career, to be an Indianapolis Colt and be close to family. I just had a little girl. When she gets to know football, maybe she’ll know me as an Indianapolis Colt, instead of a Pittsburgh Steeler," said Essex.

'The learning curve is not going to be for maybe like a Bradley Sowell who just came in also. Like you said, (Essex) has a history with Bruce and Harold. He knows the offense. He knows the calls so he’s a plug in guy. He also gives you great versatility. He’s played all five spots in the past so he can play inside, he can play outside. He gives you great versatility there,” said Head Coach Chuck Pagano.

The Colts will be getting one offensive weapon back this weekend. Wide Receiver Austin Collie has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion in the preseason. The Colts kick off their home opener on Sunday at 1 p.m. from Lucas Oil Stadium.




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