INDIANAPOLIS -- Vontae Davis wants to rediscover his Pro Bowl form. Right now, he claims, a lingering groin injury is holding him back.
The Indianapolis Colts appear to have a different opinion about what's wrong.
Five days after team officials announced Davis wouldn't travel to Houston because of a "non-injury related" issue, the frustrated cornerback fired back Wednesday.
"I probably did rush back," Davis said. "Me, the type of person I am, I want to go out and play. It's unfortunate. I thought it would be handled differently. I felt like I was demoted. You want to know why and you get to a point where it should be more about respect than anything. And I felt there was no respect there."
It's not the first time Davis has dealt with bad news. He also was demoted during training camp in 2012 for not being in shape to keep up with his Miami teammates. Three weeks later, he was traded from the Dolphins to the Colts.
Back then, both aired in full view of the public as part of the HBO series "Hard Knocks."
This time, he was upset about what went on behind closed doors.
Indy's longest-tenured defensive starter came into his sixth season eager to replace the retired Robert Mathis as the defensive leader. From the opening practices, coaches raved about his play. Then he hurt his groin in the third preseason game at Pittsburgh and didn't return to game action until Oct. 1. Even now, Davis acknowledges, he's not himself.
"My tape isn't horrible but my tape isn't me," he said, acknowledging he had a torn groin.
The timing of this spat couldn't be worse.
Indy (3-6) just ended a three-game losing streak and hosts the AFC North-leading Steelers (6-2) on Sunday before getting a bye. In the last three meetings, Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown has 23 receptions for 342 yards and seven touchdowns and he's leading the league this season in catches (57) and yards receiving (835).
Davis already has ruled himself out of this week's game.
His complaints come less than 48 hours after former Colts coach Tony Dungy told "The Dan Patrick Show" that team owner Jim Irsay believes Andrew Luck's shoulder injury "it's inside his head now."
While Luck has denied speculation he is unhappy in Indy, Davis certainly wasn't happy Wednesday.
He complained about learning of the demotion from defensive coordinator Ted Monachino rather than coach Chuck Pagano, who attended Davis' wedding in 2015; contended the Colts should have come to him sooner about their concerns; and was upset the team used the term "non-injury related."
"It should be more about the respect. I'm a professional," Davis said. "I've been in (the league) long enough. When I look at the situation, I feel like there was no respect. Knowing Chuck, I figured it would come from him. It really bothered me."
Pagano has repeatedly told reporters the reason Davis didn't play was a coach's decision. He didn't even address the topic Wednesday before Davis was available to reporters in the locker room.
In six years with the Colts, Davis has missed 13 games.
But he hasn't played up to his usual standards in 2017. Through nine games, he has 21 tackles, no sacks, no interceptions and just two passes defensed - hardly ideal numbers for a potential free agent who turns 30 in May. Davis' four-year, $36 million deal expires after this season.
And now, just one week after proclaiming he loved Indianapolis and would be a Colts fan for life, Davis sounds like he won't be back.
"Right now, change is good," Davis said. "That's how I'm going to leave it, change is good."
Notes: Pagano said linebacker John Simon (stinger) is likely to miss his third consecutive game. ... Rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson (knee), backup running back Matt Jones (ankle) and offensive lineman Denzelle Good (wrist) all practiced Wednesday. Pagano said Good remains on schedule to play in his first game since Week 1. ... The Colts have placed receiver/return specialist Quan Bray on injured reserve with a turf toe. Indy replaced Bray on the active roster by promoting nose tackle Joey Mbu from the practice squad. ... The Colts signed defensive tackle Anthony Johnson to the practice squad.
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