Happy to be there (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday January 30, 2007 5:28PM; Updated: Tuesday January 30, 2007 5:28PM
That's really not the time you want to see one of the NFL's reigning Iron Men start to bend and break.
"It was bothering him and he wasn't sure of the extent of it at that point,'' Sorgi said. "He didn't say, 'Get ready,' he said 'Be ready.' Kind of like just in case.''
Just in case has been the mantra behind Sorgi's entire NFL career, but only after the Colts' dramatic win over the Patriots did he really allow his mind to consider all the potential ramifications of his almost cameo.
"I'm sitting in the locker room after the game and I'm like running through scenarios in my head,'' Sorgi said. "I could have gone out there and thrown a pick for a touchdown. I could have thrown two touchdowns and won the game, and that would have been great. But I could have lost the game and that would have been horrible. I was thinking, 'This could have been good for my career, bad for my career.' All the scenarios go through your head.''
And the drama didn't end there for Sorgi, a 2004 sixth-round pick out of Wisconsin. For the next couple of days, as news about the extent of Manning's thumb injury remained scarce, Sorgi started preparing himself for the mother of all NFL starting debuts: A first-time first-stringer for Super Bowl XLI against the Bears.
"After the game we had a couple days off and I hadn't really talked to Peyton, and everybody's saying he's going to get X-rays on his thumb and this and that,'' Sorgi said. "And I'm like, 'Man, I'm going to have to start the Super Bowl. Are you kidding me? I haven't taken a snap all year and I'm going to start the Super Bowl?'
"But then I called Peyton and said, 'Hey, you've got to tell me the deal,' and he was like, 'I had X-rays but I'm fine.' And then he took every snap in practice last week, so I knew he was going to play.''
Sorgi has not a trace of bitterness in his voice while discussing his NFL fate. He's only 26, but I say the guy has a lucrative Bob Uecker-like career ahead of him if he wants it, making light of his infrequent on-field appearances. At 6-foot-5, 196 pounds, Sorgi doesn't exactly look the part of an NFL quarterback. He could use a milkshake or three, and still could pass for a college student.
I asked him if Manning ever made mention of at least throwing him a bone, perhaps passing along one of his many commercial gigs? Sorgi playing Manning -- cheesy fake mustache and all -- might be kind of funny.
"I could do like the Maytag Man, sitting in a chair saying, 'I'm not doing nothing because nothing's broke,' '' Sorgi said. "But I don't think I'd be as funny as him in those commercials. His commercials are hilarious.''
Every backup quarterback, deep in their heart, thinks they're better than their team's starter, right? Tell me Brian Griese doesn't believe he could do better of late than Rex Grossman has done for Chicago.
Not Sorgi. His feet are firmly planted in reality. But his butt did get dangerously close to leaving the bench there for a minute late in the AFC title game. What a story that might have been.
"Oh, man, nobody can do what (Peyton) does,'' Sorgi said. "Two years ago he threw for 49 touchdowns. He's thrown for 4,000 yards in like (six) straight seasons. He's unbelievable. I don't know how much better he is than me. I don't know if I'll ever be that good, but I'd love to try.''
If Colts fans get their way, it won't be this week, Jimbo. Until at least Feb. 5 or so, you're still the guy nobody wants to see play.
Don Banks covers pro football for SI.com.