Quarantined in AndersonBy
Anderson – The Colts are returning to their old home today. The team is back at Anderson University for training camp after 12 seasons in Terre Haute. Peyton Manning is the only player still on the team from when the Colts used to begin the season here. Peyton was a rookie quarterback the last year the Colts came here, 1998.
Peyton says he doesn’t remember much about Anderson. But he did recall riding up to Anderson from Indy after he signed his first pro contract. Team President Bill Polian was in the car. Peyton says the ride was a little awkward after the contentious contract negotiations that brought Peyton into camp a couple days late.
13 years later, Peyton is back in Anderson. I know because I saw and talked to him. But he’s the only player I get to talk to today. The Colts have tightened the leash on the media watchdogs. No up close conversations with players hauling video game systems and comfy pillows into college dorm rooms. That would apparently compromise the ability of the NFL’s most consistently successful franchise from getting back to the Super Bowl this year. And it would be too much fun. That cannot, and will not, be tolerated in the new Anderson era.
My videographer, Matt Wilkening, is shooting video of players arriving. But this will be silent video shot from about a football field away. No audio allowed. We’ve been reduced to shooting surveillance video of muscle-bound men riding around on golf carts. So silly.
Why are the Colts so secretive, so protective? President Bill Polian wants control and no distractions. The only minor controversies are whether Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis show up on time or holdout for a new contract. My guess is they will be here by 2 p.m. Top draft pick Jerry Hughes is unsigned as I write this, but I’ll bet he’s here soon.
For years, this has been a really fun day of reporting. Players bantered about leaving family behind, bringing along some of the comforts of home and getting ready for the season. What’s to get upset about? Everyone is undefeated in August.
Ashley Manning bakes Peyton a batch of cookies for training camp every year. Peyton even gave me one a few years ago. It was good. Today I’m stuck in a dorm room turned into a media center, quarantined as Peyton described it so well. I would trade my laptop for a cookie and a little access.
Rich Nye, Sports Reporter