Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — Back spasms limit Mathis in workouts
Back spasms limited the work schedule for defensive end Robert Mathis on Friday as the Indianapolis Colts wrapped up their final full practice prior to Sunday night’s Super Bowl XLI meeting with the Chicago Bears.
Mathis, who led the Colts with 9.5 sacks during the regular season, is still expected to be in Indianapolis’ starting defensive lineup against the Bears.
“He’ll be fine. He left [practice] as a precaution,” Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said after putting the team through an hour-and-a-half workout at the Miami Dolphins’ training facility in Davie, Fla. In addition to Mathis, cornerbacks Jason David and Nick Harper, safety Bob Sanders and offensive guard Ryan Lilja also missed practice time.
David continues to be bothered by an abdomen injury that has been problematic since the middle of the regular season while Harper is expected to be a game-time decision. He has been nursing a sprained right ankle for the past two weeks and has not practiced since he was injured in the first quarter of the AFC championship game with New England.
“We decided it didn’t make any sense for [Harper] to go out and try to practice,” Dungy said. “We’ll wait to see how Nick feels on Sunday at the stadium.”
Sanders and Lilja were given a day to rest old knee injuries and both are slated to start. The Colts will have a short walkthrough session today at noon. It will be the team’s final pre-Super Bowl workout.
Strong winds play havoc with kicking game — A blustery day forced placekicker Adam Vinatieri and punter Hunter Smith indoors for most of Friday’s workout.
With winds gusting up to 25 miles an hour, Vinatieri and Smith opted to move indoors and did their work in the Dolphins’ practice bubble.
Manning breaks in balls for Sunday’s game
Quarterback Peyton Manning and several members of the Colts’ equipment spent some time during ad after Friday’s practice getting the game balls ready for Sunday.
Instead of having the usual 12 footballs to work on, the league mandates that 54 footballs must be prepared for the Super Bowl.
Castroneves talks to Colts — Dungy invited two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves out for Friday’s practice. Castroneves, who lives in Miami, has become friends with the Indianapolis coach in recent years.
“We like having people come out and talk to the team who have been successful in other sports,” Dungy said. “We’ve done it a few times before in the past. I’ve known Helio for a couple of years. He’s invited me to come out and watch him during qualifications and spent some time with his pit crew [during practices for the 500].”
Conversely, Castroneves’ message to the Colts was to believe in your crew.
“That’s a good message for us,” Dungy said. “Since he’s won the big one, I thought he would be a good person to talk to our team, since we’re trying to win the big one. He talked to the team about sticking together and getting it done.”
Cameron pulling for home-state team
Former Indiana University football coach Cam Cameron, who was named as the Miami Dolphins’ new coach two weeks ago, shied away from predicting a winner in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
But Cameron, who grew up in Terre Haute and played football and basketball at IU, admitted that he is leaning toward one team in particular.
“Hey, I am from Indiana. So I’ll let you guess which way I might go,” he said Friday. “[Indianapolis is] a class organization. All the way from [team owner] Jim Irsay and [team president] Bill [Polian] down to Tony and his assistant coaches.
“To be able to come back from what they did last year, losing a heartbreaker in the first playoff game and then being able to come back this year with a team that may not be as talented as what they had before and getting to the Super Bowl this year, that says a lot about their character and it says a lot about the kind of players that they have.”
Polian talks with Cameron, Mueller
Cameron was surprised earlier this week when Polian made a surprise appearance at the Dolphins’ coaching offices.
“To have a chance to sit down and pick his brain for a little bit was great,” the Miami coach said. “We sat and talked, along with [Dolphins’ general manager] Randy [Mueller] for quite a while. We talked about how the Colts built their team, the reasoning behind some of their roster moves. It was just a chance to sit down with Bill and talk about football and what it takes to put together a championship football team.”
Super Bowl seems to follow Cam’s job path
When Cameron became an assistant with the Chargers five years ago, San Diego was hosting the Super Bowl. Now in his first couple of weeks with the Dolphins and Miami is the game’s location.
“When I first got to San Diego, I was able to look out the window of my office and watch the Oakland Raiders practice. Now I can look outside and watch the Colts,” he said.
Cameron, Manning have friendship from college
When Cameron was an assistant coach at Michigan, he was sent out to recruit a tall, gangly high school quarterback from New Orleans by the name of Peyton Manning. While Manning opted not to play for the Wolverines, a friendship between the two began.
“I know what kind of person Peyton is and how hard he works at what he does. He hasn’t changed a lot from when I first saw him. He’s as competitive as he’s always been,” the Dolphins’ coach said.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — Back spasms limit Mathis in workouts
- CNHI News Service Originals
Donnelly forges bonds, reaches across aisle
When Indiana’s freshman senator joined a small group of Senate centrists two weeks ago to quietly begin forging a plan to end the shutdown of the federal government and keep the U.S. from defaulting on its debt, he was convinced it was what his Hoosier constituents wanted him to do.
- Colts will face Redskins in Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3 The Indianapolis Colts, as a group, are going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.
- Thanksgiving is a homecoming for Colts’ Mathis Robert Mathis is going home for Thanksgiving this week.
- Indy's true safety valve Ever since he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the 2004 NFL draft, strong safety Bob Sanders has been an integral part of the team’s young defensive unit.
- Colts Camp: Simon still missing as Colts start practice The Indianapolis Colts went through their first two practices of training camp Monday, but veteran defensive tackle Corey Simon was no where to be seen. Simon’s status with the Colts for the upcoming season, which has been considered tenuous at best, remains an unanswered question.
Colts arrive ready to get down to business
Give Bill Polian plenty of credit. The Indianapolis Colts’ team president and general manager had said late last week that he was going to take all the time he needed in order to get the all nine of his draft picks signed.
- Welcome back champs: Indy begins its run for another Lombardi Trophy in Terre Haute Remember those guys who were hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Miami almost six months ago?
- Tanoos takes advantage of badge When Dan Tanoos rushed to the scene of a serious accident involving a school bus last week, he used red-and-blue police lights to help him get there more quickly.
- Bear's Notebook Monsters of the Midway don’t need motivational speeches.
- From the pressbox: From IU to the Super Bowl: Ogunleye appreciates trip Going into the 1999 season, then-Indiana University senior defensive end Adewale Ogunleye had the world at his feet.
- Dungy proud to honor Indy Most of the time, Tony Dungy is not an emotional man. But for a brief moment Friday, just prior to his final pre-Super Bowl XLI press conference, the Indianapolis Colts coach showed a side of his personality that few people get to see.
- Colts Notebook Back spasms limited the work schedule for defensive end Robert Mathis on Friday as the Indianapolis Colts wrapped up their final full practice prior to Sunday night’s Super Bowl XLI meeting with the Chicago Bears.
- Bears Notebook The last time the Indianapolis Colts faced a running back tandem as prolific as Chicago Bears runners Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson, Jacksonville rushers Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor scampered for nearly four football fields worth of yardage on the Colts.
- Indianapolis keeps its composure during record comeback Coming back from an 18-point deficit against three-time Super Bowl champion New England to win an AFC championship Sunday night was old hat for the Indianapolis Colts.
- Indy’s line ready for next challenge It’s a safe bet that the Indianapolis Colts offensive line will be severely tested when the New England Patriots come to town for Sunday’s AFC championship game.
- Dungy already knows approach to take during practice Savor the moment and take advantage of the opportunity.
- Dallas Clark may be the Colts biggest threat in a loaded offensive arsenal Mr. Versatility.
- Colts defense aims for repeat To put it mildly, the national sports media was stunned by the way the Indianapolis Colts defeated Kansas City in last weekend’s AFC wild-card game.
- Colts prepare for return to Baltimore On to Baltimore.
- Colts’ Sanders resting, ready to play Saturday It’s looking more and more like safety Bob Sanders will be in the starting lineup when the Indianapolis Colts face the Kansas City Chiefs in Saturday’s AFC wildcard game at the RCA Dome.
- Manning ready for familiar foes As Peyton Manning continues his videotape preparation this week for Saturday afternoon’s AFC wildcard game with the Kansas City Chiefs, two of the team’s veteran defensive players have grabbed his attention — cornerbacks Ty Law and Patrick Surtain.
- Dungy: 'We're still the same team' Tony Dungy is scratching his head right about now, trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with the Indianapolis Colts.
- Indy’s defense looks super The Indianapolis Colts knew that they would need a complete team performance if they were to register a win Monday night over the streaking Cincinnati Bengals.
- Donnelly forges bonds, reaches across aisle