WESTFIELD — Bernhard Raimann has always had a clear vision for his future.
When he was filling out his profile for prospective host families as an international exchange student, he marked two jobs as his potential future profession — banker or NFL player.
Last week, Raimann’s host family got the opportunity to drive down from Michigan and visit the offensive tackle during Indianapolis Colts training camp at Grand Park.
He’s living a dream while competing with veteran Matt Pryor for a starting role at left tackle, even if he understands fully well there’s a lot more work to be done.
“It’s definitely a lot to take in,” Raimann said after Wednesday’s practice. “Obviously, you got to get ahold of the playbook first and take everything in, but coaches and other players have done an incredible job of helping me over the summertime and now at the beginning of fall camp.
“Then, yeah, it’s just a learning curve every single day. We make mistakes still, but it’s on us to clean them up the next day and get better every day. As (offensive line) coach (Chris Strausser) always says, I’m not trying to let anything overwhelm me. I’m just getting better every day, and that’s all I can do right now.”
Pryor is the clear front-runner for the job at the moment. He’s taken all of the first-team reps through the first week of practices as Raimann’s on-the-job training has continued.
The rookie even has gotten a few looks at some other spots as the team attempts to prepare for every contingency.
But Raimann is a unique prospect. The 24-year-old played just two seasons as an offensive tackle after switching from tight end at Central Michigan, and the position move was made during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
So Raimann had to learn all the technique for his new position through video exchanges with his offensive line coach. Compared to that experience, his early days in the NFL have gone smoothly.
“He’s assimilated well, moves very well, kind of fits in with the group,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “We’re moving him around just a little bit, but he’s handling that well. Smart guy. He has a lot of energy out there on the field. He finishes well, bends well. So he’s making really good progress.”
Raimann also has the benefit of some veteran teammates around him.
Established starters left guard Quenton Nelson, center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Braden Smith have been generous in sharing their individual experiences and accumulated knowledge.
General manager Chris Ballard said before the start of training camp chemistry will play a big role in choosing the starter at left tackle. So the off-field bonding is equally important as the on-field performance.
“Well, first of all, when I first walked into the locker room, they really took me under their wing and showed me how they acted as pros,” Raimann said. “That was huge. Then, on the other side of it as well, sometimes it’s little things like keeping my head up and my hands up a little bit, which starts in the stance for example.
“Which might be a little thing, but them as seasoned pros, they see that right away, and that has helped me really on every single rep so far. Yeah, it’s incredible to learn from those guys.”
PLAY OF THE DAY
Wide receiver Ashton Dulin has been one of the standouts during training camp, and he produced his most impressive highlight yet Wednesday.
With cornerback Isaiah Rodgers seemingly camping out under a deep throw from quarterback Nick Foles, Dulin leapt over the defender to steal away a long completion. He punctuated the reception with an emphatic first-down gesture as another packed crowd roared its approval.
“I mean, Ashton — really the whole group — has continued to make play after play, doing everything we ask, being good in the pass game, good in the run game, (we) hand it to him while running,” Reich said. “He’s a dynamic player. He is strong. He can do it all. Like I said, we have a great group there, and I’m really excited about that.”
Working mainly on short and intermediate throws and in first- and second-down situations, Matt Ryan was 12-of-16 in full-team drills Wednesday. Michael Pittman Jr. led the way with four receptions, and Ryan also threw a touchdown pass to tight end Kylen Granson on a shovel play that went for a long gain.
THEY SAID IT
“He’s had a really good camp. Did you see we put him at fullback one time, and he busted that one up the middle? He’s going to be out of control now. I said, ‘Don’t worry. We’re not putting you at tailback.’ That was just kind of a whim. We did that just for fun. But, no, he’s having a good camp, and he looked good today for sure.” — Reich on Granson’s big practice performance.
Wide receiver DeMichael Harris, running back D’Vonte Price, linebacker Forrest Rhyne, offensive tackle Dennis Kelly and defensive tackle Chris Williams did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
Cornerback Alex Myres also went down during a drill and received treatment on the sideline.
Linebacker Shaquille Leonard (ankle) and wide receiver Mike Strachan (knee) remain on the physically unable to perform list.
The Colts signed wide receiver D.J. Montgomery on Wednesday.
Montgomery played in three games with the New York Jets last year, making three catches for 36 yards.