Manning keeps attention on the field

ON THE NFL

May 30, 2000|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

Peyton Manning continues to be a throwback to another era.

He's the one player even Baltimore fans can't resent wearing the horseshoes on his helmet because he remains such a role model at a time when the league is plagued with players having off-the-field problems.

The Indianapolis Colts' quarterback remembers what a kick it was for him and his high school team to play in the Superdome when he was growing up in New Orleans.

So his foundation, Manning's PeyBack Foundation, is funding a tripleheader for Indianapolis public schools at RCA Dome on Aug. 26 in conjunction with the Indiana Sports Corporation and Indiana Black Expo.

The amazing thing is before Manning put it together, this was an idea that was never implemented before in Indianapolis.

"It was one of the best times of my life. It's high school football," said Manning, whose high school team was 4-0 in the Superdome when he was there.

"That was kind of a big deal," he said. "Actually I still haven't lost there. We beat the Saints last year in the preseason. I'm hoping to play there in two years in the Super Bowl," he said.

That would be quite a homecoming for Manning, who's probably one of the few players in the NFL who even knows where the Super Bowl will be played in two years.

Goodbye, Steve

It can be argued that minicamp practices -- in which the players aren't allowed to practice in pads -- aren't much of a judge of how the players can play football.

But they can provide clues to a team's future.

For example, 49ers coach Steve Mariucci asked quarterback Steve Young to skip the team's minicamp because he wanted to give the two rookie quarterbacks he drafted more time to work.

Young doesn't need minicamp, but it was just one more indication that Young is no longer in the 49ers' rebuilding program, although they don't want to admit that. They'd like to have Young retire so they can give him an appropriate send-off.

Young, who recently returned from his honeymoon, is supposed to meet with 49ers officials in a week or so to discuss his future or lack thereof with the 49ers.

"Part of him wants to play the game," Mariucci said, "and he reminds me of that every three minutes. ... I think he's going through the process of deciding what's best."

Blaming the media

After telling the New York media that Curtis Martin, not Keyshawn Johnson, was the team's best player and that Mo Lewis was the second best player, Jets QB Vinny Testaverde invited Johnson to his house for dinner last weekend when the Tampa Bay Bucs had their minicamp.

Testaverde's remarks were understandable because it wouldn't have looked good for him to rip the team for trading Johnson. The dinner invitation was probably Testaverde's way of saying what he really thinks about losing his best receiver.

Johnson, though, blamed the New York media for Testaverde's remarks.

"You've got to believe me when I tell you don't put any stock in anything you read coming out of New York. They kill people. ... they will attack like sharks where there's blood in the water," he said.

Honored

The Buffalo Bills announced they're adding the names of George Saimes and Bob Kalsu to their wall of honor at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Saimes was on the American Football League's All-Decade team in the 1960s. Kalsu played one season in 1968, but his name is on another wall in Washington -- the Vietnam Memorial.

He was the only NFL player to be killed in Vietnam three decades ago on July 20, 1970.

Ralph Wilson, the team owner said, "The Wall is normally for players with all the Pro Bowls and years of service to the club. Bob, of course, doesn't have that, but there's no greater sacrifice than what he gave for his country. We talked about putting his name on a building or a road, but that wouldn't be as honorable, as significant or have the impact this does."

Only three NFL players served in Vietnam because most teams had the clout to get their players into National Guard units.

Retiring

It was not exactly a surprise that a year after his son, John, retired, Jack Elway retired as the Broncos' director of pro scouting.

The former coach had been with the Broncos since 1993. Elway's main qualification for the job: His son was the quarterback.

Jack Elway had a profound impact, though, on pro football in Baltimore. He urged his son to snub the Colts after they made him the first pick in the 1983 draft because he had a long-time feud when then Colts coach Frank Kush, from their days when they were coaching on the West Coast.

If John Elway had come to Baltimore and revived the franchise, there's a possibility the Colts wouldn't have moved the year after.

For the defense

If Orlando Brown, who has hired attorney Johnnie Cochran to represent him, files a lawsuit against the NFL because Brown was hit in the eye with a referee's weighted flag last season, the NFL's defense apparently will be that it was an accident.

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