2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Manning still has strong fan base in Indianapolis

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2014-01-31 13:46

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Peyton Manning still tugs on the heartstrings of Indianapolis football fans.

Friends and former teammates are happy he's made it back to the NFL's biggest stage, and the general public is excited to see if No. 18 can win a second Super Bowl ring this weekend, too.

Many in this town just wished this incredible season had come in Colts blue rather than Broncos orange.

''I think as fans of Peyton, people hoped he would stay with the same team and finish it out,'' said Jeff Saturday, Manning's longtime center. ''But that wasn't possible. Peyton wanted to still play. The Colts released him and that happens in our business. As a player, you have to move on to the next team and he's done what he's supposed to do.''

He's continued to win at a record-breaking rate.

Many in Indy never doubted Manning would continue to play at this high level - if he could get healthy.

But after missing the entire 2011 season to recover from a damaged nerve in his neck and facing a salary cap dilemma, Colts owner Jim Irsay made the toughest decision of his career - cutting ties with Manning and using the No. 1 draft pick to begin anew. Immediate reactions in Indy were mixed when Irsay tearfully tried to explain he wanted Manning to have another shot at the Super Bowl before his career ended, while the Colts were attempting to remain a Super Bowl contender for the next decade with a completely new cast.

So far, so good.

Since drafting Andrew Luck, the Colts have posted back-to-back 11-win seasons and reached the playoffs twice.

Manning, meanwhile, has posted two straight 13-win seasons, just completed perhaps the greatest regular season by any quarterback in league history and will make his third Super Bowl start Sunday in New York.

Indy fans aren't surprised by Manning's success, especially after watching him turn this basketball bastion into a football-friendly town.

''I think everyone is pulling for him,'' said Joe Gray, a 59-year-old Colts season ticket holder who was impressed by the standing ovation Manning got when he returned to Lucas Oil Stadium in October. ''I'm not saying I don't like Luck, I just wish Peyton was still here.''

Gray finds himself in a crowded group.

Even longtime friends, such as Saturday and former linebacker Gary Brackett, acknowledge it was tough to see Manning leave, though they're happy to see him playing well.

Some Indy football fans say they cheer for Manning first and the Colts second, which may explain why so many orange No. 18 jerseys - or some variation of them - have been seen around town the last two years. Manning has remained close to the community, too, returning each of the last two springs to host fundraisers for the children's hospital that bears his name. On Sunday, the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent is even planning a Super Bowl viewing party for patients and their families.

''We are fortunate to partner with a selfless individual who has given his time and resources off the field for the betterment of children and our overall community,'' said Vince Caponi, executive chairman of the hospital's board. ''Peyton has the highest respect for our health ministry, and values his time spent with its pediatric patients.''

But to those who know Manning best, this goes far deeper than rooting for an ex-teammate.

''My career is over, so now I can sit back and cheer for the guys I respect and he's definitely on top of that list,'' said Brackett, who served as Indy's defensive captain while Manning was the offensive captain.

Saturday concurs.

''He's a friend, so I'm always pulling for him that way. But to see a guy coming back from all the neck surgeries he's had, at 37, going to another team, going to a Super Bowl, it's fun to watch,'' Saturday said. ''Peyton Manning was everything you'd want our of a franchise quarterback while he was in Indy. He won the way you wanted to win. It was exactly what you wanted out of a franchise quarterback.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

David WilsonJul 31 12:01p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) 'needs a miracle' from his surgeon's evaluation to be able to continue his playing career, according to a source.

David WilsonJul 31 11:52a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) attended team meetings Thursday, July 31, and appeared ready to go, according to RB Rashad Jennings.

Brent UrbanJul 31 11:42a

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Wednesday, July 30, and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Lance LouisJul 31 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts OG Jack Mewhort appears to be the leading candidate for the starting left guard job. OG Lance Louis is also considered a candidate for the job.

Donald ThomasJul 31 11:22a

Indianapolis Colts OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) is scheduled to undergo season-ending quadriceps surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Nick BarnettJul 31 11:12a

Free-agent LB Nick Barnett (Redskins) is still an option for the Atlanta Falcons depending on what happens with the team's linebackers. The Falcons worked out Barnett in June but did not sign him.

Josh GordonJul 31 10:42a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is not practicing Thursday, July 31, and presumably will miss practice Friday, Aug. 1, to attend his suspension appeal hearing.

Eric BerryJul 31 10:32a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (leg, foot) was carted off at practice Thursday, July 31, with a right leg or foot injury. SS Jerron McMillian has taken his place.

Jordan TodmanJul 31 09:52a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart is expected to be spelled by RBs Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson so he doesn't reach the 300-carry plateau.

Morgan BurnettJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Morgan Burnett (ankle) and SS Tanner Miller (undisclosed) are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Micah HydeJul 31 09:42a

Green Bay Packers FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is working with the first-team defense at strong safety beside FS Micah Hyde Thursday, July 31.

Lardarius WebbJul 31 09:23a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back), DE Brent Urban (knee), DT Timmy Jernigan (back), OG Will Rackley (concussion) and WR Jeremy Butler (undisclosed) are out of practice Thursday, July [ More ]

Terrell SuggsJul 31 09:03a

Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, DT Haloti Ngata and LB Daryl Smith are not practicing Thursday, July 31.

Nate GarnerJul 31 08:53a

Miami Dolphins C Nate Garner is working with the first-team offense again Thursday, July 31, over C Shelley Smith.

A.J. HawkJul 31 01:53a

Green Bay Packers LB Brad Jones has been working ahead of LB A.J. Hawk as the lone linebacker in the dime defense in practice.

Matt CasselJul 31 01:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater saw reps with the first-team offense in practice Wednesday, July 30. According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, QB Matt Cassel appears to lead the [ More ]

Christian PonderJul 31 01:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder's reps were cut during practice Wednesday, July 30.

Josh GordonJul 30 11:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is in Stage III of the NFL's substance-abuse program, and a positive test automatically triggers a one-year suspension. For Gordon, only two options exist: [ More ]

Rod StreaterJul 30 11:43p

Oakland Raiders WR Rod Streater (concussion) participated in warmups and drills Wednesday, July 30, but he sat out team sessions. Streater suffered a concussion Monday, July 28, and has [ More ]

Joique BellJul 30 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee) missed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp while recovering from a knee injury, but he looked good cutting and accelerating with ease during [ More ]

Rob SimsJul 30 10:23p

Detroit Lions OG Rob Sims (knee) missed organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp while recovering from a knee injury, but he held his own working against DT Nick Fairley [ More ]

Allen RobinsonJul 30 10:13p

Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (and fellow rookie WR Marqise Lee) have seen plenty of opportunity at training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and [ More ]

Marqise LeeJul 30 10:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (and fellow rookie WR Allen Robinson) have seen more reps in training camp with WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and WR Ace Sanders (personal) sidelined. [ More ]

Carl NicksJul 30 08:03p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially released OG Carl Nicks (toe) Wednesday, July 30, with an injury settlement.

David WilsonJul 30 06:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) tweeted that he is fine after leaving practice early Tuesday, July 29. Wilson said he passed all physical examinations and will find out more Monday, Aug. 3.

Jim LeonhardJul 30 05:53p

The Cleveland Browns signed SS Jim Leonhard (Bills) Wednesday, July 30. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Aldon SmithJul 30 04:43p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is not participating in practice Wednesday, July 30, as he attends a hearing at the Los Angeles City Attorney's office regarding an April [ More ]

Fred JacksonJul 30 04:13p

The Buffalo Bills have signed RB Fred Jackson to a one-year contract extension. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jason GarrettJul 30 03:23p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot) will undergo surgery for a broken foot Thursday, July 31, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

LaMichael JamesJul 30 03:03p

San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James (elbow) will wear a brace on his dislocated elbow and should be ready for the start of the regular season, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Brent UrbanJul 30 02:23p

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (leg) and DT Timmy Jernigan (back) appear to have suffered injuries during practice Wednesday, July 30. Urban was helped off the field after suffering the injury.

Tyron SmithJul 30 02:03p

Dallas Cowboys OT Tyron Smith has agreed to terms with the team on an eight-year contract extension worth $98 million, according to a source.

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