Peyton hopes Colts 'hit ground running'

Updated: July 11, 2009, 1:01 PM ET
Associated Press

THIBODAUX, La. -- Peyton Manning isn't concerned about his new surroundings in Indianapolis, new Colts coach Jim Caldwell has "assured" him he has plan.

He will need one.

Head coach Tony Dungy has retired, wide receiver Marvin Harrison is no longer with the team and Tom Moore, Manning's only offensive coordinator since his rookie year, will have a reduced, as-yet unspecified role as a consultant.

With that trio surrounding Manning, the Colts have won 12 or more games for an NFL-record seven consecutive years.

"Even though Tony Dungy won't be on the sideline, I feel like the winning atmosphere and the environment he created in our building will carry through," Manning said Friday. "Coach Caldwell assured me he's got a good plan. Hopefully August 2 we'll be able to hit the ground running."

Peyton spoke at the Manning Passing Camp, a prep football skills camp he has directed with older brother Cooper, younger brother Eli and father Archie for the last 14 years.

Manning could not run at all after the camp last year. An infected bursa sac in his left knee required surgery twice in 18 days, forcing him to miss the Colts' training camp and all five preseason games. Although he kept his streak alive of starting every regular-season game in his NFL career, Indianapolis lost four of its first seven games.

"Not being able to go through training camp definitely caused me to have a slow start to the season," Manning said. "I'm a big believer that training camp is where you form the foundation of your team. Hopefully we can go through with no hurdles this year and get off to a fast start."

The Colts lost to the San Diego Chargers for the second consecutive year in their first playoff game. That gave Peyton something else in common with younger brother Eli, whose New York Giants were upset by the Philadelphia Eagles in their playoff opener after matching the Colts' 12-4 regular-season record.

Both would like to get back to the Super Bowl. Peyton was the MVP-winning quarterback of the Super Bowl in 2007. Eli was the MVP-winning quarterback of the Super Bowl in 2008.

But neither was eager to talk about the prospects of an All-Manning Super Bowl.

"I know the media would love it and have a field day with it," Eli said. "There's no better feeling than winning a Super Bowl ... to know your brother is going through a loss would make it really hard to enjoy the moment."

The Mannings expressed shock at the recent death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair, who was shot by 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi on July 4 before she shot herself.

Peyton Manning played against McNair numerous times, including twice in the playoffs.

"I've never seen a greater competitor in all my years of playing football than Steve McNair," Peyton Manning said. "It?s been a terrible loss, and just truly my heart and thoughts go out to his family."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press