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Arians hints Colts will play with new quarterback in 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers 2011 Headshots Getty Images

In public, the Colts have been mostly tight lipped about Peyton Manning’s future since the season ended. Owner Jim Irsay initially insisted Manning would remain a Colt if healthy, though he’s gradually backed off that stance. Ultimately, Irsay has made no commitment either way while being as evasive about Manning’s 2012 whereabouts as humanly possible.

Newly hired offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was more forthcoming about Manning than Irsay has ever been in an item posted on the Colts’ website Wednesday. When reading Arians’ quotes, keep in mind that he was the Colts’ quarterbacks coach from 1998 through 2000 and is returning to the organization after 11 years away.

“It’s like deja vu like in 1998, starting off with a new general manager, a new head coach, and a new quarterback,” said Arians. “It was so exciting to watch that process grow into what it has become.”

Arians seems to be of the impression that the Colts are in a full, top-to-bottom rebuild. And that rebuild includes a quarterback change. Later in the Colts.com article, Arian backtracked a bit.

“Hopefully we have Peyton (Manning) back — I have my fingers crossed — but possibly starting with another young one, it’s really exciting,” Arians said.

It’s no secret by now that the Colts expect to move on from Manning. Arians knows it; he’s openly “excited” about it. According to NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, new G.M. Ryan Grigson knew about it “weeks ago.”

Arians is just the only one who has come close to saying it.

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Irsay: “No one knows” what’s going to happen with Manning

J. Irsayguitar

Colts owner Jim Irsay appeared Wednesday on NFL Network with Rich Eisen to discuss how Super Bowl week is going in Indianapolis.

Yeah, another topic came up too.

“A lot of people think Peyton [Manning] and I know what’s going to happen,” Irsay said. “No one knows exactly what’s going to happen.”

Irsay stressed that he’d like to wait until the “last possible minute” to make a final decision on Manning’s future. He said that he would continue to talk to Manning into early March and possibly beyond.  (That contradicts a report Manning could be released by the Scouting Combine.)

Eisen did a nice job with the interview, like Trey Wingo did with Peyton Manning on Tuesday. Ultimately, it was hard for Irsay to change the perception that Manning is very likely almost done with the Colts.

“There’s never been a quarterback that’s had this type of injury,” Irsay said. “The reference points just aren’t there. It’s so rare.”

Irsay talked about the “real cap problems” for the Colts and the danger of making decisions based on “affection.” He talked repeatedly about waiting as long as possible to make a final decision on Manning.

Essentially, Irsay wants to wait to see if Manning’s neck will make a sudden recovery. If that doesn’t happen by early March, then everyone will know what’s going to happen to Manning.

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Osi apologizes: “I misunderstood the schedule”

Osi Umenyiora AP

Osi Umenyiora was the only player who failed to appear for his media responsibilities this morning, then set a new NFL record for the fastest fine, when he was docked $20,000 less than two hours later.

Now Umenyiora has offered an apology, blaming the whole thing on a scheduling mix-up.

“I misunderstood the schedule,” Umenyiora said. “It won’t happen again, and I will be at tomorrow’s media session and available after the game. I apologize for any inconvenience my absence this morning may have caused.”

It’s hard to understand how Umenyiora could misunderstand the schedule: The schedule called for the entire team to go to the same place at the same time this morning, and Umenyiora was the only one who misunderstood. Something tells me that it wasn’t so much a matter of misunderstanding as a matter of oversleeping.

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Carl Nicks wants to remain with Saints

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Saints guard Carl Nicks projects as one of the most desirable free agents to hit the market this offseason.

If he has his way, though, he won’t be leaving New Orleans. Nicks was at a ceremony honoring the Saints’ offensive line with the Prilosec OTC Madden Protectors Award on Wednesday and told Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he would like to re-sign with the Saints this offseason. Nicks also said that the team has told him that they are interested in keeping him.

Nicks is just one of many decisions the Saints are going to have to make on their own free agents this year. Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Tracy Porter and a handful of other players are set to become free agents which means the Saints will need to prioritize and act quickly to keep other suitors from sweeping in and signing a player they want to keep away. Figuring out Brees’ contract will be key as signing him long-term would allow them to use the franchise tag to keep Nicks if they so desire.

If Nicks does hit the open market, you can expect many bidders for his services. The Cowboys spring immediately to mind as a team that could use the two-time All-Pro in the interior of their line.

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PFT Live: Is Gronkowski really healthy?

Mike Florio takes another look at Peyton Manning and what his status might be for the 2012 season. He also talks about the health of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and wonders if the Pats are trying to convince the Giants that his high ankle sprain isn’t as bad as it really is. And Florio also looks at the Eagles’ decision to keep defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

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PFT Live: Where will Peyton Manning play?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joins Mike Florio and sets the record straight about Peyton Manning. Schefter says that Manning fully intends to play in 2012. And while Schefter questions Manning’s health, he doesn’t question his mindset. Schefter breaks down the top five teams that could be competing for his services.

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PFT Live: Talkin’ Giants with Amani Toomer

Super Bowl XLII champion Amani Toomer gives analysis on this year’s New York Giants team. Toomer talks injuries, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, running back Brandon Jacobs and relates this year’s team to years’ past.

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Your Super Bowl referee is John Parry

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak talks with Referee John Parry before challenging a Tampa Bay Buccaneers interception in Tampa Reuters

We’ve known the teams taking part in the Super Bowl for some time now, but we were waiting on word about who would be officiating the game.

The wait is over. The NFL announced Wednesday that John Parry will be the referee for Super Bowl XLVI. Parry worked the Super Bowl between the Colts and Bears as a side judge, but this is his first time in charge of the whole rodeo. He was promoted to the top job after that Super Bowl and has worked nine playoff games since then, including the 49ers-Saints game in this year’s playoffs.

The rest of the crew is made up of the men who received top grades at their respective positions. They are umpire Carl Paganelli, head linesman Tom Stabile, line judge Gary Arthur, field judge Gary Cavaletto, side judge Laird Hayes and back judge Tony Steratore. The replay assistant will be former NFL referee Larry Nemmers.

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Gilbride calls Manning’s left-handed passes “foolish” and “stupid”

elimanningleft AP

On a few occasions, when under pressure and getting pulled down from his right side, Eli Manning has shifted the ball to his left hand and delivered a southpaw pass. Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride wants him to knock it off.

Gilbride said today that while Manning has improved in recent years by minimizing his mistakes, he does occasionally try a left-handed pass, and that drives Gilbride nuts.

“He still does it,” Gilbride said. “I go crazy. It is foolish, it is stupid. You are asking for disaster. Don’t do that. Sometimes the instincts are just so strong that they take over.”

Manning has been able to get away with his lefty passes at times, but he’s also thrown costly left-handed interceptions. Gilbride is right: There are certain times when a quarterback has to take a sack, and throwing a left-handed interception instead is foolish and stupid.

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Brandon Jacobs thinks he’ll be back with the Giants

Brandon Jacobs AP

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has talked for months like a man who understood he was likely wrapping up his time in New York.

Four days before the Super Bowl, Jacobs feels a little differently. He was asked Wednesday if the Super Bowl will be his last game with the team.

“I honestly don’t think that’s the case. I think something’s going to get worked out,” Jacobs said via the New York Daily News.

We doubt it. Jacobs is due a $500,000 roster bonus in March and a huge salary. Jacobs knows he has to take a pay cut to stay, but we suspect the Giants are ready to move on.

Jacobs has been inconsistent at best this season. He doesn’t run with the same consistent aggression that he did early in his career. He’s too willing to bounce runs outside, and it rarely works out well.

It’s a topic that we conveniently talked about Tuesday on NBC SportsTalk.

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Longtime NFL line coach Bill Muir retires

Kansas City Chiefs 2011 Headshots Getty Images

Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star reports that former Chiefs offensive coordinator Bill Muir has retired. Muir informed the team of his intentions Wednesday morning.

The Chiefs wanted Muir back to coach their offensive line, but the 69-year-old told the Star that he’s had enough of football. He spent 28 seasons as an NFL offensive line coach and has been coaching in some capacity since the late 1960s.

“I feel badly because they want me to stay,” Muir said. “I’m not leaving because of anything that has gone on or will go on with the Chiefs. This is a personal decision. It’s very personal. I’ve been denying myself a lot of things over the years, but I’m at a point in my life where I want to do some other things.”

The Chiefs have interviewed quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn as a candidate to replace Muir as offensive coordinator.

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PFT Live 02/01: Adam Schefter, Amani Toomer

Mike Florio talks with ESPN NFL Insider, Adam Schefter about Peyton Manning’s condition, his future with the Colts, and which teams in the NFL need Manning. Mike Florio also talks with Amani Toomer about Brandon Jacobs, the development of Eli Manning, and relates this year’s Giants team to his team in 2007.


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Antrel Rolle says he’s come around on Tom Coughlin

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day Getty Images

A year ago Giants safety Antrel Rolle said that it was time for coach Tom Coughlin to realize it’s 2011 and update his coaching methods. But in 2012, Rolle says he has come around to see the wisdom in the way Coughlin does things.

“My first season I questioned a lot of things that coach Coughlin was doing,” Rolle said today. “After taking a step back and reflecting on all of it, I understand exactly why he is the way he is. I used to always wonder, I felt like he was always trying to turn us into men. Does he not know that we are men before we ever step on the football field here as a Giant? I used to ask myself questions like that. Once I matured enough and I took a step back, he is not trying to turn us into men, he is trying to help us become better men. That is something that I realize and that is something that I have taken on my shoulders and I am man enough to admit.”

Rolle now credits Coughlin’s structured approach to running the team for the way the Giants have been able to deal with the distractions of the Super Bowl.

“I understand everything behind his discipline and his structure, it comes with a reason,” Rolle said. “Things are tough in New York and he has to be that way. He has prepared us for a bigger and brighter stage, which is the stage we are on right now. For us to come here and be able to handle all the press, all the media, all the festivities and things around us and our team has done an exceptional job doing that. I see it, I see it in our eyes that our focus is the game and the game only. I think that this is what he has been trying to prepare us for all year I long. He has just going about it in different ways.”

It’s easy to see why players would find it frustrating that Coughlin has exacting standards about minor details like how they wear their socks, but Rolle said he now sees some benefits to Coughlin holding the players to a high standard. It’s hard to argue with the success Coughlin has had as a head coach.

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League fines Umenyiora $20,000

Super Bowl XLVI - Media Day Getty Images

Well, that didn’t take long.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the league fined Osi Umenyiora $20,000 for skipping Wednesday morning’s media session. Umenyiora was back at a team meeting this afternoon, so it doesn’t appear to be a major concern.

It’s believed the league set a record time between infraction and penalty. New York’s media availability ended at 11:30 a.m. ET. The fine came less than two hours later.

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Coughlin thinks it’s silly to even ask: Of course Gronkowski is playing

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The status of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski’s ankle has been the subject of hundreds of media questions already this week, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin says the questions can stop now.

It’s obvious, from Coughlin’s perspective, that Gronkowski will be ready to go.

“Not to belittle the question, I really do think he’ll play,” Coughlin said when asked about Gronkowski’s status today.

The question at this point seems to be less whether Gronkowski will play and more whether Gronkowski will play as many snaps as he usually does, and if he’ll be as effective as he usually is. Coughlin said the Giants will have to be ready to see the Patriots come out in different personnel packages if Gronkowski isn’t on the field quite as much as usual.

“I just think that we’ll prepare as if he’ll play and we’ll do our due diligence with any of these other personnel combinations that come up,” Coughlin said. “We are preparing naturally for different personnel sets, also including the fact that we think he’ll play.”

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