Colts arrive one day later than NFC champion Bears

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 30, 2007

By Michael Marot

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Tony Dungy and the Indianapolis Colts are in Florida to win a Super Bowl. The partying can begin next week.

The Colts arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, a day later than the Chicago Bears and most other recent Super Bowl teams because they wanted to make this a business as usual week amid the torrent of the usual circus-like environment.

Now it’s time to get to work.

“Our bye came fairly early in the season, so our guys have gone a long time without a weekend off,” Dungy said. “I wanted them all to spend some time with their families and have a chance to relax before getting down here.”

Good luck with that from now on.

The craziness began Monday night as the Colts made Dungy and six players available an hour after landing in South Florida. Today, more players, including two-time MVP Peyton Manning and quiet receiver Marvin Harrison, will address questions from podiums on media day, an often chaotic session.

Indy is also scheduled to practice for the first time in Florida on Wednesday.

The Colts kept Manning off the speaking schedule Monday night even though the last week has been filled with questions about his injured right thumb. Dungy said it wouldn’t be a problem for Sunday’s game.

Manning hurt his throwing hand when it hit the helmet of left tackle Tarik Glenn late in the AFC championship game.

The Super Bowl would be Manning’s 157th consecutive start, including the postseason, second all-time among quarterbacks behind only Brett Favre — a three-time MVP with Green Bay and winner of the 1997 Super Bowl.

Instead, the biggest injury question concerns starting cornerback Nick Harper, who sprained his left ankle last week. He got off the bus with his foot in a walking boot.

“Everybody practiced today, except Nick,” Dungy said. “He’s the only one who is questionable. He feels like he’ll make it; we’ll see on Wednesday.”

Before departing, the Colts held their final practice of the season at their indoor facility, again closing it to reporters. Dungy has generally held open practices, but he closed all except the stretching portion to the media during the playoffs.

Dungy said last week he would not impose a team curfew until tonight.

Still, these Colts came to Florida determined to fulfill their mission — bringing back the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy — and couldn’t wait to get out of the single-digit temperatures back in Indiana for the more temperate climate of South Florida.

“I’m excited; I’m excited we’re here,” safety Bob Sanders said, wearing a pair of dark sunglasses despite no sunlight. “It’s awesome; I just love it. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”

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