So sad to see Tarik, one of the most important cogs in the Colts offense, retire so young. Hopefully, Charlie Johnson, a Super Bowl standout, or our #2 pick, Tony Ugoh, can step up and protect Peyton's blindside. Here's a fresh article from Colts.com
Manning Puts Faith in Mudd, System to Replace Glenn TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The reactions varied. Some players were surprised. Some were sad. Others were disappointed.
Charlie Johnson, a second-year offensive tackle for the Colts, said he had a similar scope of emotions when he heard recently that longtime Colts offensive left tackle Tarik Glenn was retiring.
But Johnson said he felt something else, too.
“The first thought was, ‘I have a chance,’’’ Johnson said Sunday after checking in for 2007 Colts Training Camp at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
“I have a chance to step in and play. I don’t know how things are going to shake out, but that was the first feeling I had.”
Johnson, according to Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd, is one of several options to replace Glenn, who retired Tuesday after 10 NFL seasons, the last nine as the Colts’ starting left tackle.
Glenn started at the position in all but six games over the past nine seasons, meaning in all but six games he was most responsible for protecting the blind side of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
“We will definitely miss Tarik,” Manning said Sunday, making his first public comments regarding Glenn’s surprise retirement. “He’s my friend. He’s all of our friends. He’ll continue to be, but no longer as a teammate. That’s a little bit sad and disappointing, but he had to do what’s best for him.”
The other options to replace Glenn, Mudd said last week, include right guard Jake Scott, second-year veteran Dan Federkeil and rookie second-round draft selection Tony Ugoh.
“I don’t know that there is a frontrunner,” Dungy said. “That’s one of the things we’re going to emphasize with our team. Everybody assumes we have a frontrunner at quarterback and we have a frontrunner at right wide receiver and we probably do, but it’s still training camp.
“That’s why you come. You’re trying to figure as a coach the 53 guys who are going to be on the team. After that, you try to pick out the 22 guys who should start. This whole thing is a process. Every position is really that way, including left tackle.
“You hope that intensity is there. I think we’ve got some guys like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison who practice like their position is up for grabs every year.
“That’s what makes us good.”
Johnson, who started one game at right tackle last season before playing extensively at that position in the Colts’ victory in Super Bowl XLI, said he is approaching camp as if the position is “his to lose.”
“That’s the approach I’m taking,” Johnson said. “I’ve been here
for year and got to play a little bit last year, so I have a feeling of the offense and what to do. Coming in, that’s my mindset, that it’s my job to lose.
“It’s a little better feeling this year. It’s real exciting. At this point last year coming in, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t think I was going to break the lineup. This year, coming in knowing I have a chance to get in there and become a regular, it’s a good feeling having a chance to compete.”
Johnson, who began his collegiate career at Oklahoma State as a tight end, started as a senior at left tackle. He said playing in the Super Bowl, as well as playing several times last regular season, gave him confidence he may not have had otherwise.
“It gave me confidence and a feeling of, ‘Hey, I can go in there and I can play,’’’ Johnson said. “It just adds to that because it’s such a big game, a big stage -- knowing I played well there, hopefully I can carry on to playing this year.
“I’m not going to come in and replace Tarik. I don’t look at it like that. I look at it like there’s a spot. There’s a job there. Just go play. You‘re not going to replace a guy like Tarik. He’s a great player and a great person. I’m just trying to be me right now.”
Ugoh, who said he worked at all four offensive line positions other than center during the Colts’ summer-school and off-season conditioning sessions, played left tackle throughout his career at the University of Arkansas.
“I’ve been on the left side my whole life,” Ugoh said. “They were trying to make me more versatile, so I was moving around.”
Asked if he had to play left tackle in the season opener against New Orleans in early September, Ugoh replied quickly and seriously, “I’ll be ready.”
“It’s the coaches’ decision as far as who’s going to have that position, but I know I will be fighting for it,” Ugoh said.
Manning said no matter who eventually starts at the position, he trusts Mudd – in his 34th NFL season – to ready the position.
“I know Howard Mudd will put somebody there who will be ready that I will have complete trust in,” Manning said. “Howard’s been doing this a long time. He’s seen it all. It will be a challenge there. Tarik had been such a great player for us for so many years, but it’s the old cliché: new guys have to step up and I believe they will.
“Certainly, with any new teammate or new starter, you have to kind of earn your stripes on the field. That’s where having a coach like Howard Mudd, who’s been in it 20-some-odd years. He’s seen all situations before.
“You put your trust in him and you count on him to have the right guys there.”