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Manning and Wayne Provide Humor at Camp Opening

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Manning and Wayne Provide Humor at Camp Opening

Postby Dr. Duran Duran » Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:47 pm

So nice to see the mood is light as the Colts open training camp this season. Apparently the Wayne/Manning act was a big hit with their teammates. :-D

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne honored Edgerrin James in their own ways Sunday.

In a comedy routine that seemed almost too well scripted to be impromptu, Manning, the two-time NFL MVP, joked about walking to training camp from Indianapolis. Later, Wayne reported to camp wearing James' new jersey -- No. 32 for the Arizona Cardinals.

It was pure fun.

"It's no protest, I'm just supporting my homeboy," Wayne said, referring to James. "I wish he was here, but it wasn't my decision and it wasn't my judgment."

Manning was one of the Colts' first prominent players to talk Sunday and quickly borrowed a page from James' script for the opening act.

In past seasons, James' creativity turned his method of arrival into a guessing game.

When he lost his driver's license in 2002, he and Wayne made the 77-mile trek from Indianapolis to Terre Haute in a cab. The next year, the two ex-Miami Hurricanes arrived on a bus with 45 children on board.

On Sunday, Manning did his best to emulate the Colts' career rushing leader, but it was no match for the king of grand entrances.

"I walked to Terre Haute, so I'm a little out of breath," he said. "I tried to do something exciting. It wasn't a bad walk."

Manning was later seen getting into his SUV.

Wayne's surprise show was more reminiscent of Mike Vanderjagt, the controversial kicker who signed with Dallas as a free agent, but nobody seemed to take offense.

"I did see the jersey," coach Tony Dungy said. "That's probably Reggie losing his chauffeur and it's the right way to come into camp."

Things will get serious Monday when the Colts hold their first practice.

The biggest battle is expected to be between first-round pick Joseph Addai and veteran Dominic Rhodes, James' former backup -- the top candidates to replace James on the field.

Addai signed a five-year contract worth more than $11 million Saturday night, assuring he would make it to camp on time, and he sounded relieved that he could now focus on football.

"This offense is really complex," he said. "I think it was important to get here and be on page one when everyone else starts."

The Colts have only one holdout, third-round pick Freddie Keiaho, a linebacker from San Diego State. Unsigned players cannot practice, and team president Bill Polian was hopeful Keiaho would report soon.

Dungy also said Sunday that Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders will likely miss the first two weeks of practice after having offseason surgery on his left shoulder.

But the Manning-Wayne act was a big hit among their teammates.

Both players said they had spoken recently with their former teammate, and Wayne even had a conversation with James as he traveled to Terre Haute without giving up the secret information about his attire.

Strangely, the Colts had to choose between signing Wayne or James to a long-term deal. Wayne got a six-year, $39 million contract from the Colts, while James took the four-year, $30 million contract with Arizona.

Wayne said it didn't change their friendship and inspired him to make sure James had another big presence on reporting day.

"I don't own any helicopters and there's nowhere to land one," he said. "I took the cab ride and bus ride and the limo ride, but unless I parachuted in here or something, it would be tough to compete with him."
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