FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Dispatches from the Colts' Thursday morning Super Bowl media session at their beachside hotel, hard by the Atlantic Ocean....
• One of the stranger sights at the Super Bowl this week has been seeing a Colts player with the familiar name "Harrison'' stitched across the back of his blue No. 39 jersey -- which happens to belong, for the moment, to rookie practice squad defensive back
I spent some time at
"I haven't talked to him since he left, man,'' Wayne told a small handful of reporters. "Marvin's very to himself. He's been like that forever. So I hope he's doing well. I'm pretty sure he is. From what I understand, he still wants to play. He's still hungry to play. Hopefully he'll get the opportunity to go out there and do what he wants.''
Harrison, 37, has yet to retire from the NFL, but no one signed him during the 2009 season. He was released at his own request by the Colts last offseason, after refusing to take a pay cut. Harrison's name, and a gun he owns, was linked to a shooting in Philadelphia in April 2008, with the victim alleging Harrison pulled the trigger. No charges against Harrison were ever filed in connection with that incident.
Harrison was always known for being a loner, even among his teammates, but to hear Wayne, who played alongside him for eight years, describe him as having lost total touch with his former team was shocking.
"It's not a surprise,'' Wayne said. "Our lockers were next to each other and we very seldom talked then. It's not like we were text message buddies in eight years. So I kind of figured it'd be that way. You've just got to understand his character.''
When a reporter asked if Harrison could have lingering bitterness about how he left the organization, Wayne said he wasn't sure, but didn't think so.
"I think that's just him,'' said Wayne, who once played in No. 88's shadow. "He's to himself. He has a lonely soul. He's anti-social. That's what makes him. If you saw him talking to the media all of a sudden, that's an imposter. That's not him. He'll keep the same makeup that he's had since day one, and I guess that's what works for him.''
Wow. Barely a year has gone by since their long and successful partnership broke up, and Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne don't even speak any more. That's stunning to me.
• Three days out, here's my best guess at how the Colts' defensive line will deal with
"Yeah, that's what we need him to do, rush the passer,'' Brock said Thursday. "I can be anywhere on third down. I can be at end, inside or stand up at linebacker and drop into coverage. I might get a couple more reps at left end on third downs. But we have a great defensive line, and everybody plays every position.
"We've done this before without Dwight. That's why we're not worried, and no one's panicking. We'd like to have Dwight out there. Who would want to play without him? But we're confident. Everybody feels good about it. If he can't play, everybody will pick up the slack, like we did earlier in the season when he was [injured].''
Even if Freeney plays, his injury probably means the Colts will find a few more snaps than usual for third-year defensive end
"As long as I'm contributing, I'll be OK with that,'' Freeney said, when I asked him if he would be satisfied with a scenario of playing on just passing downs. "Obviously the competitor in me, I want to be out there a lot more. But if it's not ready to that point, and they say, 'OK, Dwight, listen: You only have to play in certain situations, or whatever,' then I'm going to have to live with that. Maybe I can sneak in a couple extra plays here and there.''
I still don't think Freeney will be healthy enough to make much of an impact in the game, even if all he does is rush Brees on passing downs. Freeney's wheels are his game, and right now he has one very flat tire.
• The irony is, other than the Colts, the Saints are clearly
"Now that [Brees] is in New Orleans, he's a neighbor to my brother
• Two other quick topics touched on by Manning that I found interesting: First, he raved about how far the Colts-mad city of Indianapolis has come since he first arrived in 1998.
"It's always been a sports town, but now it's really turned into a football town, and that's the kind of place you want to play football in,'' Manning said. "People talk about the draft in January. They're not just talking about Indiana basketball, or talking about the pole position of the Indy 500. They're talking about the Colts now, so that's been exciting to see that change.''
Secondly, someone asked Manning when was the last time he missed a game? Manning just shrugged and kind of seemed at a loss for words for one of the rare times I've seen. Then he recovered and quipped: "You mean overslept, something like that?''
As it turns out, Manning said the last time he didn't play at all in one of his team's games was when he was a freshman at the University of Tennessee. He didn't start until the fifth game of that season, so he was a bystander for the first four weeks. Since then he has answered the bell. For more than 15 seasons and counting.
• Former Rams defensive end
"I understand the old-school mentality,'' said Freeney, when a reporter relayed Youngblood's comments. "Strap it up and play. You got one leg? Well, just hop out there. It doesn't matter. I mean, I get it. But it's definitely different. It's a lot harder than that in a sense. But I'll see what happens.''
• I asked Colts rookie receiver
"I've seen it a few times already, from a number of different angles,'' Collie said. "To be quite honest, from what I remember, Coleman came pretty close to tipping it. It was a pretty sweet play, and a pretty good throw from Peyton. I'd say that whole drive was probably the biggest plays of my career so far.''
• Do you realize the Colts have now been to four Super Bowls, and four different head coaches have led them there?
The only other franchise that has had four different Super Bowl head coaches is the Raiders: