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Pro Bowl wasn't hard on Manning

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Just back from the Colts’ first media availability of Super Bowl week. Let’s start our highlights with Peyton Manning’s take on arriving early for the Pro Bowl, which he didn’t play in.

“We were told what the expectations were for coming to the Pro Bowl and I don’t know -- I got to fly on a private plane with six of my best friends and teammates, we had Ruth’s Chris steakhouse, took a private escort right into Miami, shook a few hands, had to wave, did one interview and we made $45,000. I can think of some worse things to put yourself through. ...

“We’re glad everybody’s here now and we’re ready to go.”

The popular topic was Dwight Freeney. You see a Chris Mortensen report in the post before this one and here’s the news story on what was said.

Some other highlights that don’t quite match up to that, many on familiar themes:

  • Pressed for a difference between Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell, Kelvin Hayden came up with: “No eating in the meeting rooms. Coach Dungy felt like if guys were relaxed and comfortable in the meeting rooms, they’d pay attention a little more. But coach Caldwell, I guess he didn’t buy into that and he shut it down, so no eating in the meeting rooms.”

  • Asked about reconciling giving up so few sacks and blocking for the 32nd-rated running team, right tackle Ryan Diem said: “I think a lot of that can come to rhythm in a game. And once you start throwing a lot, you kind of get out of that run rhythm obviously and it’s hard to get a rhythm when you only run 12-15 times a game. So I guess that’s really the only way I can explain it is that we don’t run the ball often enough to kind of feel that run rhythm that some other teams do.”

  • Someone asked Gary Brackett, does anyone do as much as the Saints in terms of offensive formations and packages? “A few teams try but I don’t think they have quite the talent level that the Saints have that can spread out. Obviously Reggie Bush can play several positions. Robert Meachem is another speed guy. [Marques] Colston has the ability to be that matchup problem. They do a good job of opening up the playbook.”

  • Manning was asked about another championship further validating his career: “I have the same excitement that I had three years ago. ... Your question had a lot of 'I's phrased in it. I really think of it as a we. This is our opportunity and I feel fortunate to have a number of guys on my team that you’d feel fortunate to go into any type of battle or game with. That’s kind of my approach to it and I’m sticking to that.”

  • And as for the team staying in the same hotel, working on the same practice field out of the same facility as they did when they won the Super Bowl following the 2006 season, he said: "I don’t think staying in the same hotel or practicing on the same field, I certainly don’t think it helps you stop Drew Brees’ offense or figure out where Darren Sharper’s going to be.”