|Super Bowl champions complete deal with 1st-round pick Gonzalez|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 26 July 2007 13:10|
That person is not authorized to release details of the deal and requested anonymity, but said $5.4 million in the contract is guaranteed.
By wrapping up negotiations this week, it assures Gonzalez of reporting to training camp on time with his new teammates Sunday. It also marks the earliest the Colts have had their top pick under contract since president Bill Polian joined the team in 1998.
In previous seasons, the Colts typically raced the clock to finish deals. Five of Polian's top picks - Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Rob Morris, Dallas Clark and Bob Sanders - held out. Three others - Dwight Freeney, Marlin Jackson and Joseph Addai - signed on the eve of camp. The other player, Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne, signed on reporting day.
Gonzalez didn't want it to go that long.
``It was real important for Anthony to be in camp on time and it can be easy for some teams to take advantage of that,'' agent Mike McCartney said. ``The Colts didn't.''
Now Gonzalez can focus solely on football.
That was not the case in May, when Gonzalez missed the Colts' mandatory minicamp because league rules required him to attend the NFL Player Rookie Premier. Had he skipped that event, the NFL still would have prohibited him from practicing in Indy.
The rules even prompted coach Tony Dungy to say he would consider changing the Colts' minicamp schedule in future years.
Also helpful, McCartney said, was that the two players selected ahead of Gonzalez had already signed. The 30th and 31st picks, tight end Greg Olsen and receiver Craig Davis, already have signed with the Colts. Gonzelez was the 32nd pick overall.
``He was absolute about being in training camp,'' McCartney said. ``It was extremely important to him.''
Gonzalez, who left Ohio State a year early, gives Manning, the Super Bowl MVP and two-time league MVP, another solid target on offense. He's expected to replace Brandon Stokley as the Colts' No. 3 receiver after Stokley became a cost-cutting casualty in March. Stokley eventually signed with the Denver Broncos.
At Ohio State, the 6-foot, 193-pound Gonzalez was known for running precise routes, making tough catches in traffic and complementing the Buckeyes' better-known receivers, such as Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr. Gonzalez finished his college career with 87 receptions, 1,286 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also returned kickoffs.
Gonzalez slept in an altitude tent to improve his stamina and recovery time. One of his older brothers, Joe, was a starting safety for Indiana University.
Earlier this week, the Colts agreed to terms with two other picks: defensive end Keyunta Dawson, a seventh-rounder, and fifth-round pick Roy Hall. Hall, also a receiver, was a teammate of Gonzalez's at Ohio State.
That leaves six other draft picks still unsigned, including tackle Tony Ugoh, a second-rounder, chosen as the heir apparent to three-time Pro Bowler Tarik Glenn. Indy planned to move Ugoh into Glenn's spot next year, but may have to try him there earlier than expected because Glenn announced his retirement Tuesday.