Five minutes with Dominic Rhodes
From avoiding distractions to trying to relax, Dominic Rhodes talks about his experience so far at Super Bowl XLI.
Editor's note: Graham Bensinger is talking to Colts running back Dominic Rhodes for five minutes every day during Super Bowl week to get his thoughts leading up to the big game. Here is their conversation from Thursday.
Graham Bensinger: How was your day?
Dominic Rhodes: The day has been pretty good. We did another media session. I saw you there. My family came in town. I'm going to go try and hang out with them a little bit. Other than that, I've just been chilling out.
Bensinger: What did you think of the media session today compared to the others this week?
Rhodes: I didn't think anything of it, really. It was the same as the other ones. There's a whole bunch of speculation, the same questions, and asking us how we are going to deal with certain things before the game.
Rhodes: We were on the podiums yesterday, so I guess they were just switching that off and on for certain guys. Yesterday, I was on the podium with Joseph [Addai], Reggie [Wayne], and Marvin [Harrison].
Bensinger: What do you think of how much Marvin Harrison has been talking?
Rhodes: He realizes it's part of what is going on right now. Usually he's the quiet guy, but he's giving the fans a chance to hear from him. We're in the Super Bowl, so you have to be ready to talk a little bit!
Bensinger: You mentioned you've been chilling out today. What have you been doing in your downtime?
Rhodes: I've just been in my room relaxing and thinking about the task at hand.
Bensinger: Given the added attention of being in the Super Bowl, to what extent do you feel, at times, you're better off hanging out in your room?
Rhodes: For me, honestly, I enjoy sitting in my room relaxing a little bit. You have a chance to get away from the circus that's called Super Bowl week. Everyone has been all over us lately. We're like rock stars. I know that I'm here to help my team win a football game. I'd rather just do my speaking on the field.
Bensinger: How was practice?
Rhodes: It was another good day for us. We went out and executed well. Guys have been showing that their level of concentration is very high. We're getting ready for a big-time game. We're not letting the attention get to us.
Bensinger: Previously, when I've asked you about practice, your answers have been general. What did you specifically work on today?
Rhodes: We're learning what the Bears are going to do to us. We're trying to figure out how they are going to attack us on defense. I had another pretty good day of practice. I didn't drop any balls and no missed assignments. I've prepared myself very well for this game.
Bensinger: How would you describe QB Peyton Manning?
Rhodes: He's a great student of the game and teammate. He gives everything he's got every week. During the offseason, he's not working out somewhere else -- he's with his team. It shows that if he can be here, then everyone else can be here. That's the kind of guy we have.
Bensinger: What's he like in the huddle?
Rhodes: A general. That's basically what he is. He gets us in the right plays and leads us to wins.
Bensinger: What makes you consider him a general?
Rhodes: A general has to know what's going on with everyone on the field whenever they're going to war. He knows everywhere that we're supposed to be. He puts us in the right place.
Bensinger: What do players think about him continually calling audibles on the line of scrimmage?
Rhodes: That's part of his game. That's what we do. Peyton knows our offense front to back. We try to get ourselves as a team to the best place possible to beat that defense. I don't think you'll see us stopping anytime soon.
Bensinger: How funny do you find the notion that Peyton can't win the big game, considering that he's only 30 years old, has already had considerable playoff success, and could arguably have half of his career left?
Rhodes: There are always people out there looking to scrutinize. He's still so young. He has so much more time to do more great things and win many championships. I know a lot of it comes from his college days, but what's going to happen when he wins a Super Bowl? You're going to have to bite your words.
Bensinger: In one of the team meetings, Peyton indicated that he wanted to limit contact with families during Super Bowl week. What exactly did he say?
Rhodes: He wanted to keep our [hotel] floor at a calm level. He didn't want a lot of people on our floor making all this noise and disrupting what our team usually does. We want to make this like any other work weekend. He didn't want kids and other people acting crazy. He said he would rather us keep it as a players' floor.
Bensinger: What'd you think of that?
Rhodes: He's the QB and he made the decision. He spoke it over with the rest of our leaders and they decided that it was the best thing. I'm cool with it either way. I'll go visit my family in another room. I'm not going to get in an argument over all of that. I'm just going to let it be what it be.
Bensinger: Who in your family came into Miami today?
Rhodes: My brothers, my sisters, my grandmother and my lady are here right now. My mom isn't here yet.
Bensinger: What are your evening plans?
Rhodes: I'll probably go with my brothers out to a little club for a short while. After that, I'll head back to the hotel. I can't really do much because I have to be in so early!
Graham Bensinger is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Visit his Web site at: TheGBShow.com. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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CONVERSATION: DOMINIC RHODES
• Monday: Return to Indy
• Sunday: Sweet victory
• Saturday: Final preparations
• Friday: Ready for the game
• Thursday: Avoiding distractions
• Wednesday: Enjoying South Beach
• Tuesday: Welcome to Miami
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