WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts receiver Daurice Fountain turned his career around with a terrific training camp.
Now he’s dealing with another major obstacle.
The promising second-year player suffered a “significant” left ankle injury that prompted teammates and Cleveland Browns players to take a knee in prayer Thursday during the teams’ second and final joint workout.
“He’s at the hospital, being treated, he’s going to get the best care in the world,” coach Frank Reich said. “We will do whatever it takes to support him and he’ll bounce back. He’ll bounce back. Our thoughts and prayers are with Reece. He’s had a great camp, he’s worked extremely hard and he’s looked extremely good.”
It was a scary scene — and a frightening reminder of just how dangerous this sport can be.
Fountain was injured on a toss sweep and it was unclear what exactly happened before his repeated screams could be heard over a near capacity crowd at Grand Park Sports Campus in suburban Indianapolis. Those near Fountain immediately motioned for the medical staff, which treated Fountain for more than 10 minutes on the field.
While most took a knee, some players from both teams also gathered round the medical staff in prayer before Fountain was put on a stretcher, lifted onto a golf cart and driven away with an air cast protecting his injured leg.
It sapped some of the energy that had been building up throughout the afternoon and clearly shook players.
“I think it was a running play and I think someone ran into him or something like that,” tight end Mo Allie-Cox said. “When I saw his leg, it was kind of crooked and when you heard him screaming, I think that’s what really got us. They were loud screams, and I was like I didn’t want to practice anymore.”
TRASH TALK: Mike Vrabel has been trash-talking with Tom Brady since the day the former linebacker joined the New England Patriots’ offseason program back in 2001 as a free agent.
The Patriots and Titans wrapped up their second practice together Thursday, and Brady provided a reminder he can give just as good as he gets.
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With coach Bill Belichick watching, Brady presented his friend a small trophy before practice with the score of the Titans’ 34-10 win over New England last November.
Of course, the Patriots rebounded to win the Lombardi Trophy with their sixth Super Bowl title in February while the Titans missed the playoffs to cap Vrabel’s first season as head coach.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to speak about that private moment,” Brady said with a smile. “But it was a nice gesture from me to him, and hopefully he appreciates it.”
Vrabel said he didn’t know where the trophy was after practice.
“Just a friend trying to give an old friend a present, just a little trophy for coaching,” Vrabel said.
Asked about the men talking back and forth, Brady said he wouldn’t describe their chatter as civil.
“Obviously, he’s done a great job leading this team, and proud of him, everything he’s accomplished,” Brady said. “We all support him even though he’s coaching for another team. It was just really good work between these two teams who — you know, they took care of us pretty good last year — and we knew it was going to be competitive, so it’s been a good couple of days.”
SUPERDOME FACELIFT: New Orleans’ iconic Superdome, home to the Saints football team and a symbol of the city’s revival after Hurricane Katrina, will undergo a $450 million facelift, under a financing plan approved Thursday that is aimed at keeping the NFL team in Louisiana for decades.
The 44-year-old domed stadium, which has hosted seven Super Bowls, will see its ramp system removed and replaced with elevators and escalators, club and suite levels expanded, new entry gates erected, concession stands added and access for people with disabilities improved.
Construction is expected to take four years, working around football and other event schedules, but will be completed before the Superdome hosts its next Super Bowl in 2024, said Doug Thornton, a New Orleans-based executive for SMG, which manages the facility.
The Superdome renovations are part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ ongoing negotiations for a new state contract that could extend through 2050 with the Saints, a team whose popularity has soared with record-breaking quarterback Drew Brees and whose relationship with New Orleans has tightened through years of hurricane recovery.