Peyton Manning will be on the sidelines Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts face off against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts’ quarterback, who has been sidelined since he underwent neck surgery Sept. 8, has spent the last two games in the press-box coaches’ booth. Manning announced Thursday, however, that he has been cleared by doctors to move to the field for the Kansas City game.
“They do an X-ray every four weeks on that [spinal] fusion to see how things are going. So I’ve got a good check-up on that. I’m still pretty limited in how much I can help [during practice and games],” he said.
“I’m doing a little more stuff [in his rehab]. I don’t get into the details of the rehab, but I’ve been able to do a little more. I’ve got work to do. I feel good.”
Manning was in a jovial, upbeat mood as he talked with the team’s media in the locker room before Thursday’s afternoon practice. He discussed several topics during the unexpected 10-minute chat, including his return to the sidelines and an update on his rehab schedule.
“My philosophy with [quarterbacks] Kerry [Collins] or Curtis [Painter], whoever is playing, is that they kind of have to come to me, call me. They’ve got a lot of people in their ears. Coach [Jim] Caldwell, [offensive coordinator] Clyde [Christensen], [quarterbacks coach] Ron Turner,” Manning explained.
“I think you have to understand that Ron Turner has to coach them a little differently than me, telling them certain ways to read things. I don’t want to interfere with that. I try to be [on the sidelines] as a resource and encourage guys.”
He understands that wherever he is during a game, press box or sidelines, he will remain the center of attention for fans and the media.
“I feel good. It’s a very tough question. I’m feeling good, but that means in two weeks you should be feeling great and playing. You have to be careful not to lead anybody on,” Manning said. “I’m in good spirits, have a good attitude. I come over here every day trying to get a little better.
“I really get tired of people trying to read my body language and moods. I don’t know how you do that. I would like to think everybody is kind of down around here. We are 0-4. I feel that a little bit. I go week to week and try to get a little bit better.”
I I I
n Offensive-line issues — Who is going to start on the offensive line Sunday against the Chiefs? As of Thursday, that remains very much an open question.
Injuries abound as one rookie offensive tackle, Ben Ijalana, has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and another, Anthony Castonzo, is out indefinitely with a high left ankle sprain.
Offensive guard Ryan Diem, a former starting right tackle, has been sidelined for the past two weeks with a high ankle sprain.
If Diem can play this week, which is doubtful since he hasn’t practiced in a couple of weeks, he would probably end up back at right tackle.
As it stands now, however, it appears the Colts will go with Jeff Saturday at center, Mike Pollak at right guard, Joe Reitz at left guard, recently re-signed Michael Toudouze at right tackle and Jeff Linkenbach moving back to left tackle from right tackle.
Confusing, to be sure. But that’s the lot that the Indianapolis coaching staff has been dealt.
“Practice will go along this week and we’ll see where we are. We do have a lot of possibilities and some of them are too endless to go through on who is going to be where and here and there. We’ll see. We haven’t gotten a final determination yet on Ryan Diem. He is improving and getting better. I’m not certain if he makes it,” Caldwell said.
“If he does, obviously, that will put him at one [tackle] spot and [Jeff Linkenbach] at the other. The inside three should remain the same as they’ve been. That’s kind of what we’re looking at. If [Diem] is not able to go, then we’ll have to make another adjustment there at that position. That just depends on who that might be. It could be Michael Toudouze, who’s been here before and who’s played the position before, or we could slide another alternative in there.”
Toudouze was a fifth-round pick by the Colts in 2006 and has been on and off the team’s roster three times since then. He spent his rookie season on practice squad and was on the active roster from 2007-10.
Much like any other position, having a player who is familiar with Indianapolis’ offensive system certainly helps in the transition.
“Familiarity is a problem because some guys can do a little bit more than others. They know the system. Also, experience as well. Those things play a big part in it. You have to weigh and measure all of those things and hopefully get the right combination, particularly in the offensive line because it requires guys working in unison with one another,” Caldwell explained.
“Communication and all of those things that they are accustomed to doing with one another. When you have a guy that’s unfamiliar with it, it takes a little bit of time to teach him. That’s why you often times reach back for guys that are familiar with your system.”
• Tickets available — The Chiefs have returned almost 300 tickets for Sunday’s game.
Tickets are available. while they last, at the Lucas Oil Stadium ticket office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 or at www.ticketmaster.com.
n Injury list — Safety Melvin Bullitt, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Cleveland in Week 2, is scheduled to undergo surgery today. Bullitt injured his right shoulder against the Browns. It’s the second straight season that he has been sidelined for the year with a right shoulder injury.
But it looks like linebacker Ernie Sims (knee) might be available to play against the Chiefs. Sims was hurt against Houston in the season opener and has not played since.
“It looks good at this point,” Caldwell said. “He worked hard [Wednesday] and worked well.”
• Thursday’s injury report — Did not practice: RB Joseph Addai (rest), OT Anthony Castonzo (ankle), OG Ryan Diem (ankle), TE Brody Eldridge (knee), DE Robert Mathis (chest), DT Drake Nevis (back). Limited practice: QB Kerry Collins (concussion), DT Fili Moala (ankle), LB Ernie Sims (knee). Full practice: DE Dwight Freeney (abdominal), OG Mike Pollak (arm), OG Joe Reitz (ankle).
Collins has been cleared by doctors to participate in limited practice but he has not been cleared to play in a game. His status for Sunday’s game remains up in the air.
Peyton Manning will be on the sidelines Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts face off against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium.
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Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
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Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
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Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
Colts sign nose tackle
Another day, more player signings for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
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While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
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Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
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New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
Colts introduce free-agent signees
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That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Colts sign five free agents, filling needs at offensive line, cornerback
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Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
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The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
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Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
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Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
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McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts GM enjoying time at combine
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Colts keeping eye on large crop of talented linemen in NFL Draft
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Among the offensive line candidates who have been showcasing their talents at the National Football Scouting Combine, which began in earnest Thursday and wraps up on Tuesday, the spotlight has been on the offensive tackles. Offensive left tackles in particular.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection. While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.
The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
Former Pro Bowl selection Freeney won't return to Colts
The news coming out of the Indianapolis Colts headquarters Friday afternoon was not totally unexpected. Team officials have confirmed that two veteran players – former Pro Bowl defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie — will not be returning for the 2013 season.
Colts’ new offensive coordinator will offer variety
Quarterback Andrew Luck running the Pistol offense? Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton lining up in the Wildcat?
Colts moving on to the off season
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Baltimore ends Indy’s playoff run early
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Next up, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
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