2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Manning's return causes dilemma in Indianapolis

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-17 14:53

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Jeff Saturday is torn.

It was here, in Indianapolis, where he got a legitimate chance to make an NFL roster. It was here he earned five Pro Bowl trips, won two AFC titles and a Super Bowl ring, and became one of the city's favorite players. It is here where he still lives and works, returning after one final NFL season in Green Bay, and it is here where he will always be known for snapping the ball to Peyton Manning.

Choosing sides for Sunday night's showdown between Manning's Broncos and his former team, the Colts, is a real struggle.

''There's a love for your home city because you want them to get the win,'' Saturday said. ''But my friendship with Peyton makes it tough.''

Saturday finds himself in good company this weekend as Indy prepares to welcome back the man who turned a basketball town into a football power.

In some ways, it's like Manning never left. The city's northwest side remains the home of Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent. Manning returns each spring to host the hospital's biggest fundraiser.

Downtown there is Lucas Oil Stadium, the house built by Manning and a finalist to host its second Super Bowl. Indy's season-ticket waiting list is at about 8,000, a drastic improvement for a team that spent the first third of Manning's career trying to avoid blackouts almost on a weekly basis.

And there are still plenty of blue No. 18 jerseys at home games, some trimmed in Colts' white and others in Broncos' orange.

Fans here will likely revere Manning forever.

''He changed the culture of football in Indiana. This was such a basketball state for so many years, and the Colts were kind of an afterthought. Watching him go from a kid to who he is now, I just think it will be really neat (Sunday),'' said Dom Battinau, who played college football in Indy and now lives with his family in suburban Greenwood. ''The fact that we're blessed with Andrew Luck, I think, helps temper that (loss) a little bit. So you want to see him (Manning) throw for 400 yards and seven TDs and see the Colts win because I'm a Colts fan first.''

It's a common refrain in Indy even though some interpreted this week's comments from team owner Jim Irsay as a ''cheap shot.''

The truth is, Irsay understands exactly what Manning meant to this city and franchise, erasing the image of being a league-wide afterthought by making the Colts a perennial Super Bowl contender.

Manning understands, too, which is why he explained during his final news conference in Indy, in March 2012, that the decision to part ways with the Colts wasn't his or Irsay's. It was simply a perfect storm - Manning was due a $28 million bonus after missing the entire 2011 season with an almost unprecedented injury for a quarterback and Indy had the No. 1 pick and a chance to rebuild with the best quarterback prospect since Manning in 1998.

Fans who didn't want to see him go are eager to see him return.

''A lot of people still root for him, so I think there will be a big pro-Manning presence,'' said Gary Knight, a 43-year-old season-ticket holder since 1984. ''But I'd be surprised if there were any boos.''

Collegial reunions of this sort are a rarity in the NFL.

When Brett Favre returned to Green Bay, with the dreaded Minnesota Vikings, Packers fans felt betrayed. Few expect Manning to be treated rudely Sunday night.

Despite the brewing storm over Irsay's comments, which he first made months ago, even the Colts owner doesn't want to hear boos for what he has called the most beloved player in franchise history. A pregame tribute is planned.

''I think you know there's just so much love and affection for him, and when our players come back, we do a tribute on the big screen and stuff, so it's just going to be one of the most exciting and anticipated games in the history of the league and the history of our franchise,'' Irsay told The Associated Press before training camp. ''It's one of those dramatic, just sort of conflicted, anticipated games and I think that's what it's about in sports.''

Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne, one of Manning's favorite targets in Indy, isn't conflicted at all. Neither are his teammates, who repeatedly said Wednesday they wouldn't treat Sunday's game as anything out of the ordinary.

''I'm just ready to play ball and get it over with,'' Wayne said Wednesday. ''It's like the Ringling Brothers, man.''

Perhaps nobody understands better than Saturday what to expect Sunday night.

A year ago, Saturday came back with the Packers - less than a week after the Colts announced coach Chuck Pagano would be out indefinitely after being diagnosed with leukemia.

Saturday wore a CHUCKSTRONG T-shirt during warm-ups, and then between the third and fourth quarters, his highlight reel played on the big screen. The fans roared with approval even though the Packers were leading 27-19 at the time.

''I watched it, and it meant a lot to me,'' Saturday said. ''What I remember most was that (Packers coach) Mike McCarthy came up to me the Monday after the game and said, `That's one of the best, if not the best, tributes I've ever seen for a player and how much class the city of Indianapolis has.' He said, `Even though we lost, hold onto that moment.'''

Now it will be Manning's turn to be honored. Saturday, who will be on the opposing sideline, will be cheering for the Colts, the team that employs him, and at the same time his close buddy Manning.

''I think you'll definitely see a ton of 18s in the crowd, and there will be a lot of Denver 18s and Indianapolis 18s and he deserves that. He's earned it,'' Saturday said. ''But I think Indianapolis Colts fans definitely want the Colts to win, no matter what.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Ryan SuccopSep 1 04:22p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent PK Ryan Succop (Chiefs) to an undisclosed deal and released PK Travis Coons Monday, Sept. 1.

Josh ScobeeSep 1 11:43a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring), DT Sen'Derrick Marks (shoulder), PK Josh Scobee (quadriceps) and OT Zane Beadles (undisclosed) are practicing Monday, Sept. 1.

Larry DonnellSep 1 11:43a

New York Giants TE Larry Donnell is the starting tight end on the team's unofficial depth chart. TE Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson are second- and third-string, respectively.

Quintin DempsSep 1 11:23a

New York Giants SS Quintin Demps is the lead kick returner, while WR Preston Parker is the lead punt returner.

Ben TateSep 1 10:52a

Cleveland Browns RB Ben Tate is expected to stay on the field on third downs, according to head coach Mike Pettine. This is good news for his PPR [ More ]

Charles BrownSep 1 10:43a

New York Giants OT Charles Brown (shoulder) and OT James Brewer (back) returned to practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Ahmad DixonSep 1 10:22a

The Dallas Cowboys released SS Ahmad Dixon.

Lonnie PryorSep 1 09:52a

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent FB Lonnie Pryor (Buccaneers) and OG D.J. Morrell (Rams) to the practice squad.

Tony HillsSep 1 09:32a

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent LB David Hinds (Titans), TE Jacob Maxwell (Lions), CB Lowell Rose (Chargers) and WR Tommy Streeter (Buccaneers) to the practice squad. C Sam Brenner, [ More ]

Emil IgwenaguSep 1 03:53a

In addition to the previously announced signings of TE Michael Egnew and RB George Winn, the Detroit Lions inked OG Rodney Austin, FB Emil Igwenagu, S Nate Ness, WR [ More ]

Chase FordSep 1 03:42a

Nine players were signed to the Minnesota Vikings practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Players joining the squad include RB Joe Banyard, WR Kain Colter, DT Isame Faciane, TE [ More ]

D.J. SmithSep 1 03:33a

The Carolina Panthers brought 10 players onto their practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Players signed were CB Carrington Byndom, LB Adarius Glanton, WR Tavarres King, SS Robert Lester, [ More ]

Trevin WadeSep 1 03:22a

The New Orleans Saints signed six players to their practice squad on Sunday, Aug. 31. Signees include WR Brandon Coleman, CB Terrence Frederick, WR Seantavius Jones, OT Tavon Rooks, [ More ]

Champ BaileySep 1 02:52a

Although the New York Jets are in need of cornerbacks, they are unlikely to pursue free-agent CB Champ Bailey, who was cut by the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, [ More ]

Dee MillinerSep 1 01:02a

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls and FS Antonio Allen could start at cornerback Week 1 because of the injury to CB Dee Milliner (ankle).

Jeromey ClarySep 1 12:23a

San Diego Chargers OG Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip) underwent hip surgery around a week ago, and his status for the 2014 season is uncertain, according to sources. Clary has [ More ]

Ryan SuccopSep 1 12:12a

Free-agent PK Ryan Succop (Chiefs) is receiving significant interest from the Tennessee Titans and could sign with them as early as Monday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Kenjon BarnerSep 1 12:02a

Philadelphia Eagles RB Kenjon Barner (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Vincent BrownSep 1 12:02a

San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Brown (calf) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

DeMarcus Van DykeAug 31 11:52p

Kansas City Chiefs CB DeMarcus Van Dyke (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Jake StoneburnerAug 31 11:32p

Green Bay Packers TE Jake Stoneburner (undisclosed) and OT Aaron Adams (knee) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after they were waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

M.D. JenningsAug 31 11:22p

Chicago Bears FS M.D. Jennings (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Sunday, Aug. 31, after he was waived/injured Saturday, Aug. 30.

Steve VallosAug 31 10:33p

The Tennessee Titans released C Steve Vallos Sunday, Aug. 31.

Damian WilliamsAug 31 10:22p

The Miami Dolphins released WR Damian Williams Sunday, Aug. 31.

Mike ThomasAug 31 10:12p

The Houston Texans released WR Mike Thomas Sunday, Aug. 31.

Duke IhenachoAug 31 09:53p

The Washington Redskins have claimed SS Duke Ihenacho off waivers from the Denver Broncos.

Brandon HarrisAug 31 09:53p

The Tennessee Titans have claimed WR T.J. Graham off waivers from the Buffalo Bills, WR Kris Durham from the Detroit Lions and CB Brandon Harris from the Houston Texans.

Garrett GilkeyAug 31 09:42p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have claimed OG Garrett Gilkey off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

MarQueis GrayAug 31 09:32p

The Minnesota Vikings have claimed TE MarQueis Gray off waivers from the Cleveland Browns and OT Michael X. Harris from the San Diego Chargers.

Brandian RossAug 31 09:22p

The Miami Dolphins have claimed CB Brandian Ross off waivers from the Oakland Raiders.

Mickey ShulerAug 31 09:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have claimed TE Mickey Shuler off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons.

Damaris JohnsonAug 31 09:12p

The Houston Texans have claimed OT Jeff Adams off waivers from the Tennessee Titans, WR Damaris Johnson from the Philadelphia Eagles and CB Darryl Morris from the San Francisco 49ers.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group