No holding down FortOne of the first things that people...


June 15, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko

No holding down Fort

One of the first things that people within the CFL Colts organization say about offensive tackle Neal Fort is: "He's a lot quicker than he looks."

Maybe that's because he looks like a small town.

Listed at 6 feet 7 and 310 pounds, Fort is hard to miss on the practice fields at Towson State as he sweats through two-a-days. But he's getting noticed for more than just his imposing size.

"He's surprisingly quick and fast for a man as big as he is," said coach Don Matthews. "He's very agile, he runs very well and he's having an excellent camp. He'll certainly be one of the strong points of our line."

A two-year starter at BYU, Fort was drafted in the sixth round by the Los Angeles Rams in 1991 and spent the entire season on the developmental squad. He went to camp with the Atlanta Falcons in 1992, but a knee injury ruined that opportunity.

After sitting out last year, Fort contacted Jim Popp, the Colts' director of player personnel, and received an invitation to training camp.

"If this didn't work out, that was it. This was my last go-around," he said.

"So far, it feels really good. You don't want to be too confident, but it feels nice. And this is a great bunch of guys to play with. This is a good organization for being in its first year."

As for how he has impressed everyone with his athleticism -- he also works on the kickoff team -- Fort laughed and said, "It's a gift of God, that's all I can say. I just work with what I've got."

Hot time in the city

As the players did some light running at 9:15 a.m., Matthews yelled out, "Is it hot enough?"

By the afternoon, the temperature had soared into the upper 90s. And the forecast for the remainder of the week doesn't offer any relief, which is fine with linebacker Jesse Becton, who figures the intense heat could work in the team's favor as it prepares for the June 24 exhibition opener in Shreveport, La.

"I hear it was like 99 degrees there with 100 percent humidity," he said. "This is actually going to benefit us in getting ready to play in Shreveport."

D8 He paused before adding, "But I wish it would rain."

Catching on

The morning practice was highlighted by a couple of acrobatic catches from Shannon Culver and Marcus Goodwin.

Culver made a lunging, one-handed grab of a pass that appeared to be well overthrown. Later, he went straight up for a reception over the middle despite tight coverage from Irvin Smith (Maryland).

Not to be outdone, Goodwin made a diving catch along the left sideline on a deep route.

Friday practice

The Colts will practice Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field, in preparation for Saturday's full-speed contact workout at Small's Athletic Field in York, Pa.


Jamal Farmer

Pos: FB

Ht: 5-11

Wt: 225


Cal State-


Year: Rookie

Outlook: One of the strongest Colts -- he bench-presses 500 pounds -- Farmer is well-suited for the CFL-style attack. He's tough to tackle and is a capable receiver.

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