By CLIFF BRUNT
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS -- Mike Hart was a Heisman Trophy contender who is Michigan's career rushing leader. Samuel Giguere wasn't drafted and didn't play college football in the United States.
Colts president Bill Polian said they are on equal footing heading into a rookie mini-camp at the team's practice facility Friday through Sunday. Hart, one of nine players the Colts drafted last weekend, and Giguere, one of 13 players the team signed to contracts after the draft, will attend.
Giguere played college football at Sherbrooke College in Canada, but Polian said he has as good a chance as Hart and their top pick, second-round selection Mike Pollak, of making the team.
"It doesn't matter where you've been drafted, what school you went to, how much money your parents have, who your agent is, how many trees were killed writing about you in the pre-draft analyses, what Mel Kiper or any other expert thinks about you," Polian said. "It's all about what you do in this building, in the classroom, on the field, off the field, to measure up to the standards that the Colts have."
The Colts have had success with free agents in the past. Starting linebacker Gary Brackett and ex-Colts running back Dominic Rhodes have excelled after being bypassed in the draft.
Other free agent pickups this week include wide receivers Rudy Burgess of Arizona State and Charles Dillon of Washington State; defensive tackles Dan Davis of Connecticut, Colin Ferrell of Kent State and Eric Foster of Rutgers; defensive backs Brandon Foster of Texas and Jamie Silva of Boston College; defensive end Curtis Johnson of Clark College; offensive tackle Darren Marquez of Southern Illinois; linebacker Senn Jordan of Portland State; running back Chad Simpson of Morgan State and quarterback Adam Tafralis of San Jose State.
Giguere, perhaps the most interesting of the free agents, caught 45 passes for 871 yards as a senior at Sherbrooke. The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder then ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at a pre-draft test in Toronto.
"It's not a risk," Polian said. "He's a Canadian player who has great measurables. He's got talent, there's no question about that.
"He will be making a jump from a level of competition that is far lower than he will see here, but he would have been a first-round draft choice in the Canadian draft. This will give him an opportunity to see if he can grow and develop here."
Giguere, Burgess, Dillon and Simpson all have kickoff return experience. Polian said he isn't looking to replace T.J. Rushing, but he'd be open to it if a newcomer emerges. Rushing averaged 23 yards per kickoff return, and the team ranked 22nd out of 32 teams.
"I think T.J.'s fine, but you're always trying to find people who can do multiple things, and if you can upgrade, you always try to," Polian said.
Polian said each newcomer will have an opportunity to make the final 53-man roster.
"Giguere would be the furthest away because he's played in Canada, but he's a tremendously talented athlete. All the rest are in the mold of Gary Brackett and others who have signed and have come in and made the club. I think every one of them, under the right set of circumstances, has a chance to make the club."
Polian wants the newcomers to leave their past accolades at the door when they show up Friday.
"This is the real world," he said. "All that took place on draft day and before that is the phony world of the draft. This is about competing for a job in the National Football League."