DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning worked out the kinks of three idle weeks during the AFC's practice at the Ihilani resort yesterday.
Lineman protects Peyton's opinion
As far as the Indianapolis Colts are concerned -- those at the Pro Bowl, anyway -- quarterback Peyton Manning's acknowledgment that a lack of pass protection helped knock them out of the playoffs did not hurt team chemistry. But losing running back Edgerrin James could definitely sting.
Manning was sacked five times as the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Colts 21-18 in an AFC semifinal game last month. Manning drew criticism from some for saying the Colts had "protection problems" in the postgame new conference. But not his teammates.
"That was what really happened," left tackle Tarik Glenn said yesterday. "I would've said the same thing."
Manning addressed the topic in Detroit before the Super Bowl.
"It's a non-issue. It's over with," he said.
As for Glenn:
"He's had my backside for eight years now and there's no one I'd rather have at left tackle," Manning said.
One of the real issues for the Colts is if they can figure out a way to keep James, who is here for his fourth Pro Bowl in seven seasons. He becomes an unrestricted free agent next month and said earlier this week he doesn't expect to return to the Colts.
"I haven't heard anything from anyone yet," James said yesterday. "Ain't nothing happened, that's what it boils down to. Let's put it this way. I want to get things right."
Manning and Glenn said they hope James changes his mind about leaving.
"We'll try to improve the team through the draft and free agents and keep the players we have," Manning said. "I don't know if you're supposed to pray for things like that, but I pray for that. I pray that Edgerrin James will be back."
Glenn said players like James are rare.
"Unfortunately we have a salary cap in the NFL which doesn't allow us to keep teams together. It'd be a shame for him not to be on our team because he's a big part of what we do. He's an all-purpose back, and every-down back. Anything you ask him to do he does it and does it well," Glenn said. "I think he gives us the best chance to win, but it's not up to me."
During Terrell Owens
' tumultuous time with the Eagles, one teammate stood out as an advocate for the talented but troubled receiver. Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter
tried to keep Owens in the fold, even after Owens was suspended and de-activated for repeatedly disrupting the team.
But Trotter declined yesterday to get in the middle between Owens and quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb accused Owens of racism last week for Owens' assertion last season that the Eagles would've been winning with Brett Favre instead of McNabb at quarterback.
"No, I'm just out here to enjoy this with my family, and we'll focus on 2006," said Trotter, here for his third Pro Bowl.
He did talk a little about the Eagles' newest quarterback hopeful, Tim Chang, the Hawaii alumnus who gets some seasoning in Europe before training camp.
"I saw him in the locker room the other day," Trotter said. "Obviously in the offseason a lot of moves are made. The scouting department makes a lot of good moves to help the team."
Bengals offensive tackle Willie Anderson
was a teammate of Steelers defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen
of Molokai from 1996 to 1999, when both were at Cincinnati. Anderson said he doesn't think von Oelhoffen intended to injure Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer
when the Steelers and Bengals met in the playoffs. Von Oelhoffen knocked Palmer out of the game with a hit to the knee that tore Palmer's ACL.
"Football is football, and the guy's job is to go out there and punish the quarterback," Anderson said. "Was it a dirty play? I haven't seen the film, but I know Kimo's character and I don't think he's that type of guy."
Remember the Titan:
Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair
was scheduled to arrive today as an injury replacement for Denver's Jake Plummer
This will be McNair's third Pro Bowl. It would've been the first for Plummer.