Saturday, May 3, 2003

Manning-Vanderjagt: 'Dead issue'



By Mike Chappell
Indianapolis Star

Anyone mining for zesty residue from the off-season verbal sparring between quarterback Peyton Manning and place-kicker Mike Vanderjagt came up empty in the Indianapolis Colts' locker room Friday.

"It's a dead issue," Manning said before the team's first minicamp practice at the Union Federal Football Center. "Mike and I were friends before all of that happened and we're friends now.

"We've cleared the air, discussed it. There is no carryover whatsoever. (Coach) Tony (Dungy) tries to preach the family atmosphere, and you're going to have conflicts from time to time. The key is working them out and that's what we've done."

It's the first time the players were together since Vanderjagt created a stir in late-January when he appeared on a Toronto cable TV show and criticized Manning and Dungy for lacking emotion in their leadership roles. He also questioned the direction of the franchise in the aftermath of the team's 41-0 playoff loss to the New York Jets.

Manning fired back Feb. 3, taking Vanderjagt to task from the sideline of the Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

Friday, Vanderjagt made a brief appearance in the locker room, but departed before reporters could question him.

What he was wearing, though, spoke volumes: A blue Manning No. 18 jersey.

"It's over, man," running back Edgerrin James said. "It's been over.

"It's not an issue."

Dungy spoke with Manning and Vanderjagt in February, resolving their differences. Prior to minicamp, he spoke with the entire team, stressing that certain issues must remain in-house.

"I addressed it with the team and what we can learn from it," Dungy said. "That's the biggest thing: How to deal with it.

"We want to keep it away from (the media). There are some things that are not appropriate to take outside our family."

---

Call Star reporter Mike Chappell at 1-317-444-6830, or e-mail mike.chappell@indystar.com




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