Manning keeps it light at opening press conference

FORT LAUDERDALE Fla. – Peyton Manning followed coach Jim Caldwell up on the main podium, while some of his teammates scattered around the ballroom here at the Marriott Harbor Beach hotel where the Colts are based.

It’s the same hotel the Colts stayed at three years ago, adding a sense of familiarity to the proceedings. Though Manning downplayed any advantage that might give his team.

Peyton Manning takes questions from the media on Monday. (Eric Gay / Associated Press)

“I don’t think staying at the same hotel helps you stop Drew Brees’ offense or figure out where Darren Sharper’s going to be,” Manning said. “It still has a different feel. We have a new head coach, it’s a different team. We have a number of new players.”

As for having to fly down to South Florida early to take part in Pro Bowl proceedings … let’s just say Manning had a different take than Colts president Bill Polian, who criticized the NFL last week for preventing his team leaders from traveling with the rest of the team.

“I don’t know, I got to fly on a private plane with six of my best friends and teammates,” Manning said. “We had Ruth’s Chris Steak House food on the plane. Took a private escort right into Miami. Shook a few hands, had to wave. Did one interview and made $45,000. I can think of some worse things to put yourself through.”

As you can see, Manning kept it mostly light, including his answer to questions about injured teammate Dwight Freeney. Instead of addressing Freeney’s much-reported ankle injury, Manning chose to reflect on the type of player Freeney is and his experience having played against him in non-contact practices.

“I can’t tell you how many times he would run right by me and say ‘that woulda hurt, that woulda hurt.'”

– Aron Angel

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