Early bits from Colts' minicamp

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts started minicamp with big hitters at the media podium, with Peyton Manning, Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney all preceding Jim Caldwell.

Here is the news out of Manning’s chat in a moment. He says he’s relieved by the results of March neck surgery.

Other quick items and thoughts I wanted to share before diving into something bigger...

The missing: Caldwell was reluctant to get into contract issues that have Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis and Antoine Bethea (who’s not a holdout, as he’s not under contract with an unsigned restricted tender) staying away. Mathis was part of a charity softball event in town on Thursday night.

Freeney said players identify with other players who are looking out for themselves -- “We all understand you have to get that part right.”

But Caldwell said what all coaches say and fully believe: “Guys get better here. We think this is the best place to be.”

Freeney's ankle: Freeney is one of 13 players who will not practice today. He talked off scar tissue and stiffness being the lingering issue left from the grade-three ankle sprain that limited him in the Super Bowl. Stability-wise he rated it 100 percent, but couldn’t put a number on the stiffness and scar tissue and said it makes sense to be smart in June. He did not have surgery.

It's too early for him to watch Super Bowl XLIV, he said.

"I kind of wait until at least we get near training camp time before I even revisit that," he said. "It's a long time from now in my mind to when it actually counts in September. So I kind of have to hold back. You don't want to see me running down the street in my helmet and my shoulder pads."

Sanders' return: Sanders said it’s the first OTA participation that he can remember for himself in some time, and that he understands how he was “out of sight, out of mind” for a lot of people. He’s enjoying being part of the team competition at this stage of the year as well as working in the weight room without worries.

He’s added a hyperbaric chamber to his routine and said he’s gotten a lot of advice while dealing with a slew of injuries in recent years. He said he’s read and considered much of it, knowing there are others who’ve been through similar things who might have helpful thoughts.

Sanders isn't looking very far ahead, anjoying a one-day-at-a-time approach that seems fitting considering the setbacks he's suffered in the past.