Pagano on Peyton’s big weekend: ‘Our guys are fired up’
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The boys are back in town for the Peyton Manning Weekend, and Chuck Pagano wants the newest edition of the Indianapolis Colts to give the proper respect.
How to honor Manning and so many other former Colts who’ll be in town?
“The way we can respect him and respect what he’s done for this organization, the National Football League and our community is go out there and play our asses off,’’ Pagano said Friday. “Play well, play great Colts football.’’
The Colts will unveil Manning’s statue outside Lucas Oil Stadium at a 3 p.m. ceremony Saturday. At halftime of Sunday’s game with the San Francisco 49ers, his name will be added to the Ring of Honor and his No. 18 jersey officially retired.
Pagano insisted he didn’t have to address the celebratory weekend with his players.
“Our guys are fired up,’’ he said. “We’re all fired up. What a tribute and what a great honor this will be, going into the Ring of Honor and the statue and all that stuff.’’
What’s important, Pagano stressed, is for his Colts to be motivated by the group that did so much, starting with Manning’s arrival as the first overall pick in the 1998 draft. There’s so much they can learn from the recent past.
Manning’s last season with the Colts was 2011, when he missed the entire year with neck issues. The only players who remain are placekicker Adam Vinatieri and offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo.
Pagano and general manager Chris Ballard encourage former Colts to frequent the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Friday, Reggie Wayne was at practice.
“Love Reg, you know that,’’ Pagano said. “Love having him around and seeing him.’’
Manning has invited a slew of his former teammates to share his special weekend, including Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday, Tarik Glenn, Marshall Faulk, Ryan Diem, Gary Brackett, Ken Dilger, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Hunter Smith, Jim Sorgi and Brandon Stokley.
Harrison and James aren’t expected to be in town for the statue ceremony, but should be on hand for Sunday’s festivities.
“Can’t wait to see all those guys,’’ Pagano said. “It’s always good for you, especially for our young guys. They don’t know these guys. They’re a bunch of pictures in the hallway they’re still trying to figure out.’’
The Colts are 1-3 and are coming off consecutive 8-8 seasons. From 1999-2010, they were 138-54 (.719), tied an NFL record by reaching the playoffs in nine straight seasons, advanced to the Super Bowl twice and captured one world championship.
Pagano understands what it took for the Colts to enjoy that type of sustained excellence. He wants his players to grasp it as well.
“Absolutely,’’ he said. “The blood, sweat and tears and the sacrifices that all these guys have made, starting with Peyton and Reggie and Edgerrin and Marvin and Robert, Vinny. They built this. They laid the foundation. They paved the way so that these guys get an opportunity to play in this stadium.
“It’s a privilege, it’s not a right. The more that they understand that, know that, understand the history and get to know these guys . . . it comes down to respect. Those guys paved the way for all of us.’’
- Medical update: Quarterback Andrew Luck (right shoulder), tight end Jack Doyle (concussion/neck) and cornerback Nate Hairston (quad) have been ruled out of the 49ers game. Running back Matt Jones (knee) is doubtful while cornerback Rashaan Melvin (hamstring/ankle) and wideout Chester Rogers (hamstring) are questionable.
- Doyle update: Doyle suffered a concussion against the Seahawks and appeared to be making progress earlier this week. He was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, but Thursday complained of stiffness in his neck.
“We’re going to err on the side of caution,’’ Pagano said.
Doyle has been one of the team’s ironmen since being claimed off waivers from Tennessee Sept. 1, 2013. Sunday will snap a streak of 67 consecutive appearances. That was the sixth-longest streak among active tight ends.
The Colts will be in scramble mode to replace Doyle. His 17 receptions are tied with T.Y. Hilton for the team lead and his 163 yards trail only Hilton’s 289.
Look for Brandon Williams, Darrell Daniels and recently-signed Henry Krieger-Coble to share the workload in Doyle’s absence. Their combined career stats: 10 catches, 145 yards.
- Stat of the day: The Colts and 49ers are 0-3 against the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams. That’s where the comparison ends. San Francisco’s three losses have been by a total of 8 points. The Colts: 68 points.
- Stat of the day II: Running back Frank Gore needs 4 yards to move past Eric Dickerson (13,259) into the No. 7 slot on the NFL’s career rushing list.