Work in Sports
Peyton's pace is brisk
This is the 13th in a series of postcards Sports Illustrated's Peter King will e-mail from his annual NFL training-camp tour.
Wednesday, Aug. 2
TEAM: Indianapolis Colts
SITE: A hidden gem known as Rose-Hulman Institute, an engineering university on the northeast side of Terre Haute, Ind. Neat campus. Lots of trees. Great facilities. Students, if some were here right now, can work out on treadmills overlooking the Colts' practice fields.
OPINION/FACTOID THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTING ONLY TO ME: Rose-Hulman's nickname is the Fightin' Engineers.
THE FOOD: Nice midwestern fare, except for the mixed vegetables, which tasted just out of the can. The report card:
The thing about vegetables, according to me, Mr. Nutrition, is that to do any good they've got to be crunchy. Not watery, not limp. I'm amazed this is what they feed the players.
Dear NFL Junkie:
The quest to be a very good NFL quarterback never ends for Peyton Manning. As we sat together on a golf cart outside the cafeteria this noon, the reason Manning is so good so young was driven home to me.
I asked him how he's been able to keep his focus on football while other quarterbacks who've become famous before they've become great -- Jake Plummer, Kordell Stewart -- have had so many struggles in the game.
He explained how you have to keep in mind who's doing the praising and who's doing the criticizing -- media, mostly, and media members who might not know the game very well. Why, he asked, would you put a lot of stock into what they thought?
"You also have to have a feeling that you haven't arrived," he said. Often Manning talks as though he's rehearsed every syllable. Not this time. This was something he really felt.
"My coordinator in college, David Cutcliffe, used to say I had a fire in my belly. I don't know about that, but I know you have to work constantly in this league to stay ahead. I played 16 snaps in our first preseason game last weekend. And I watched those 16 snaps in the last couple of days at least a dozen times each. How'd I do on the handoffs? The drops? The reads? Did I see the receivers I was supposed to see? I want to make sure I'm not getting into any bad habits. In this league, it's a constant battle to do everything well."
On Tuesdays, the players' day off during the NFL season, Manning enters the Colts' training center at 5 p.m., to get a sneak preview of the gameplan that will be unveiled to the offense Wednesday morning.
He usually leaves around 10.
This, my friends, is why there won't be many potholes on Manning's road to Canton.
Check back soon for more postcards from camp. Next: New Orleans