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Coach Chuck Pagano has Colts loose and confident

INDIANAPOLIS — It takes a village. In the Colts’ case, a blue-and-white one. At least according to veteran cornerback Vontae Davis, who on Sunday will be part of an Indianapolis secondary charged with keeping behemoth Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski in check.

Davis, in his third year with the Colts, played his first three seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He is a little bigger and heftier (5 feet 11 inches, 207 pounds) than many NFL corners, but he knows that containing the hulking Gronk is a mighty task.

“Gronk, he’s big,’’ noted Davis, breaking into a smile nearly as wide as Gronkowski’s shoulders. “It’ll take more than just me trying to tackle Gronk.’’


Overall, the mood around Camp Colt Friday was professional but lighthearted, slightly more than 48 prior to Sunday’s kickoff in Foxborough, where the Colts and Patriots will battle for the right to play in the Super Bowl.

“You’re seeing a lot of togetherness,’’ said former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, casting an eye over a locker room in which teammates kidded each other and pumped up the music after practice. “A lot of guys are loose and ready to go.’’

If there were any jitters among the troops, it wasn’t apparent. Both starting quarterback Andrew Luck and coach Chuck Pagano noted that they wouldn’t have any trouble sleeping Saturday night.

When asked his secret to a sound sleep, a smiling Pagano said, “Medication.’’ And after a short pause, he added, “I’ll probably get in a whack of trouble for that.’’

Rest assured, Pagano added, he won’t have to reach for any inspirational words to fire up his charges.

“If I have to give a Knute Rockne speech at this point of the season, something to get them going,” mused Pagano, “then something is wrong.”

In perhaps his most emotional moment of the week, Pagano, his cancer in remission for more than two years, underscored that the game pales in comparison to some of life’s ordeals, in particular those faced by members of the US military.


“It’s a game, it’s a game,’’ said Pagano. “I know we talk about ‘going to war, going to battle,’ but that isn’t like our Armed Forces, you know, men and women who serve. When they cross the wire, they are not guaranteed to come home, but they do it anyway because of what they’re made of and what they stand for.

“We cross the white lines and, knock on wood, you hope you don’t get injured, but you get to go home. So it’s a football game. The expectations are high, all that stuff is there . . . but we are playing a kid’s game.’’

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.