INDIANAPOLIS -- It was enough to make even the toughest NFL
The blue horseshoe. The Lombardi Trophy in the middle of the
Colts' logo. Even a red ruby to represent the figurative blood shed
by the Colts over the course of the season. And, of course, the
Super Bowl rings were all handed out Wednesday night on -- what
else? -- a silver platter.
"I know they normally say that diamonds are a woman's best
friend, but tonight, they're a man's best friend, too," Pro Bowl
receiver Reggie Wayne said, barely containing his exuberance as he
put his arm around former Colts linebacker Cato June.
The response to the shiny, new, $5,000 rings was unanimously
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney said the
design, courtesy of team owner Jim Irsay and his wife, was
precisely what he envisioned.
But it was the private ceremony that really brought out
emotions. All the Colts players and coaches from the Super Bowl
team attended the ceremony but defensive tackle Montae Reagor, who
is expected to practice with Philadelphia on Thursday.
When they left the downtown theater's ballroom, players were so
excited they didn't know what to do.
"I might sleep with it tonight," said Freeney, one of the
NFL's most-feared pass rushers. "I think today is the first day it
really hits. Now it hits home and tomorrow is a new day. So it's
time to get another one."
Players names are etched on one side of the ring, with last
season's motto "Our Time" and the word "faith" etched into the
Irsay said he wanted the word "faith" because it represented
the religious feelings of the team and the tragedies the Colts
overcame, such as the suicide of Tony Dungy's son and the traffic
accident that killed Reggie Wayne's older brother.
Missing from the ring were the diamonds that teams typically use
to symbolize the number of championships won by the franchise.
In the Colts case that would be two, counting their 1970 victory
when the team was still in Baltimore. Irsay opted against that for
"We look at it as being the first one for the Indianapolis
Colts," Irsay said. "And there was no need to bring up any
Irsay's father, Robert, moved the team from Baltimore to
Indianapolis in the middle of the night in 1984 and some Baltimore
fans still haven't forgiven the Colts for leaving.
The team's quest for a Super Bowl repeat has already begun. The
Colts are wrapping up their fourth week of mini-camp Thursday, and
veterans don't have to report again until training camp opens July
Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning kept a low profile after picking
up the one personal trophy that eluded him through his first eight
seasons in the NFL.
"It only gives you about a month and a half to wear it because
then next season starts," Manning said last week. "I think you
really can't wear it after that or you're just sort of hanging onto
For Manning, the victory laps have been nonstop since his MVP
performance in February.
He's been to the White House twice, met England's Queen
Elizabeth II, was the host of "Saturday Night Live," dropped the
green flag for last month's Indianapolis 500 and golfed in an event
that included Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.
Most players, including Manning, said the ring ceremony was more
emotional because it included everybody else from the team.
"It's a special moment because it doesn't happen every day,"
Dungy said last week. "It's been almost 30 years between mine. To
me, it's really more symbolic of the guys starting in March and
saying 'This is our goal' and then accomplishing it. Not everyone
Dungy won his only other Super Bowl ring with the Pittsburgh
Steelers in 1978.
What happens to the rings next is up to the individual. Dungy,
like Manning, said he'd probably stow his away soon. June asked
Wayne on Wednesday for advice now that he's playing in Tampa Bay.
"Scratch your head, like this," Wayne said, raising his right
hand with the three-ounce ring. "You show them that's a nice ring