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Colts find a Luck-aided running game

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Colts find a Luck-aided running game

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts accomplished their goal last week - improve their running game. Now they want to keep it going.

The Colts ran for a season-high 148 yards in a 17-13 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, led mostly by two rookies - Vick Ballard and Andrew Luck.

``It's the fruit of our hard labor,'' Ballard said Monday. ``Whenever you suffer a loss you want to get your edge back. We went back to the basics and figured out what we needed to do to get the win.''

Ballard took advantage of an opportunity with running back Donald Brown out for the second straight week with an injured knee. On 20 carries, Ballard ran for 84 yards, giving interim head coach Bruce Arians a little more confidence in the running game.

``When he came here I thought he had that in him, it was nice to see that come out,'' Arians said. ``He's a good, solid back and I think that the future is bright for him and I just want to stack those weeks together now.''

For Luck, he says the amount of confidence he has in the running game doesn't change, but he's happy that Ballard is getting some recognition for his game.

Ballard said the way to make to way to keep offensive balance for the entire time is simply by getting better at details and the small things.

``Any football team wants to have a balanced offense,'' Ballard said. ``Whenever you can have a good running game it obviously opens up the passing game.''

On Sunday, the Colts passed for 186 yards.

Once Brown returns, the Colts will have a deeper backfield. That could happen sooner than later. Arians said there's a chance Brown could return this week.

``It will be close this week along with about four or five other guys,'' Arians said. ``I'm anxious to see Wednesday who is able to go and who's not.''

Now the question is, when Brown returns, what kind of threat can Indy be running the ball?

``I guess we'll have to wait and see,'' Ballard said. ``However they use us, whoever's in, I'm sure, will get the job done.''

Delone Carter ran for 41 yards against the Browns.

``It was a great total offensive effort in running the football,'' Luck said. ``The running backs were running well and it really helped the offense.''

Ballard also caught a pass for 19 yards in the first quarter to put the Colts at the 5-yard line and set Indy up for its first score - by Luck, who ran 3 yards for the touchdown. It was the first of two touchdown runs by the overall No. 1 pick and someone the Colts presumably do not want running all that often. He ran 5 yards midway through the second quarter to give the Colts a 14-6 lead and finished with 12 yards on three carries.

Luck was only the third quarterback in Colts franchise history to run for two touchdowns in a single game. Ricky Turner and Bert Jones are the other two.

The Colts (3-3) play at Tennessee (3-4) on Sunday.

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NFL revamping players' pain management and prevention programs

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NFL revamping players' pain management and prevention programs

NEW YORK -- The NFL and the players' union have two new agreements to address player health in the areas of pain management/prescription medications, and behavior well-being.

The joint agreements, announced Monday, are designed to lead to advancement and understanding of dealing with pain and to improve potential treatments. The league and union also will add to programs already established in education, prevention, and overall behavioral health throughout the league.

"I was hired two years ago and when I was hired I was asked about areas of concern," said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's medical chief. "And I said these were two areas I saw from my knowledge of someone taking care of athletes for over two decades. I felt a real need there."

"We've been working together with the players' union to come up with something that would work proactively for both. We have the same goal, to take care of the whole player and in a holistic way, and to focus on prevention."

Among the stipulations in the pain management area will be formation of a committee of medical experts appointed by the league and union that will establish uniform standards for club practices and policies in pain management and the use of prescription medication by players. The committee also will conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies.

That committee will receive periodic reports from a newly developed prescription drug monitoring program that will monitor all prescriptions issued to NFL players by club physicians and unaffiliated physicians.

Each NFL club must appoint and pay for a pain management specialist before next season.

All this builds on the programs in place.

"We've had an electronically submitted health record for each club in place for a number of years," Sills said. "Medical providers enter the prescriptions they have given to the players. Periodically, our medical advisory committee and the NFL Physicians Society would issue white paper guidelines around strategies. The important change here is obviously it creates a committee tasked with overseeing our educational efforts -- the best practices around pain management."

All 32 teams now must retain by the start of training camp a behavioral health team clinician focused on supporting players' emotional and mental health and well-being. The old bromide of "toughing it out" when someone has such issues has long been discarded, Sills said.

"This is not novel to the NFL or to sports," Sills added. "It applies across all levels of society at all age groups and walks of life, and we know these are issues we need to address."

While the NFL and NFLPA have had previous joint programs in these health areas, Sills and NFLPA President Eric Winston note these initiatives are a major step forward in medical care.

"These agreements are positive developments for our membership as they will provide new and important resources to help players and their families," Winston said. "Our union has always advocated for advancements in health and safety and we think this work with the NFL is another important step to improve care for NFL players."

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

Kick off your Tuesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including a recap of the first day of OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Yesterday, (Monday) was the first day of the Ravens' OTAs. OTAs continue today (Tuesday) as the Ravens work on developing a new offense. Check out some of the highlights here. 

2. The Baltimore Ravens have officially announced the full 90-man roster that will be competing for an official team roster spot in OTAs this summer. 

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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