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Comments made by place-kicker Mike Vanderjagt that New England was "ripe for the picking" in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game drew a response from the Patriots but barely a whimper from his Indianapolis Colts teammates.
"I don't have any comment as far as that," quarterback Peyton Manning said Wednesday. "It's pretty well documented how I feel about the Patriots as far as the respect I have for them."
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne smiled when asked about Vanderjagt's comments.
"He's always making jokes and saying things," he said. "But he's on my team and I've got to back him up."
Would he prefer Vanderjagt keep his thoughts to himself?
"He's a grown man," Wayne said. "You can say all you want, but he's still going to do what he wants to do."
Coach Tony Dungy did not talk directly with Vanderjagt after the comments, which were made on WISH-8 Sunday night. Instead, "we talked to the team as a whole," he said. "Basically you have to play the game. That's what's going to determine who's going to win.
"You can talk, if you want. I don't think it hurts, I don't think it helps. It doesn't have any bearing on the game."
Wayne has been named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Week after catching 10 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns against Denver. The receiving total was the third-highest in NFL postseason history.
As Wayne talked with the media on Wednesday, he frequently stroked the beginnings of a beard with his hand. It's a new look for the usually clean-shaven Wayne.
"I just don't feel like cutting it," he said, rubbing the growth on his chin. "I guess it's my new look for the playoffs."
Robert Mathis said he won't play against the Patriots. The team's defensive pass-rush specialist (10.5 sacks) suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Sunday's win over Denver when teammate Dwight Freeney rolled into his knee.
Linebackers Cato June (ankle/knee) and David Thornton (groin), running back James Mungro (turf toe) and defensive tackle Josh Williams (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday. Each is expected to be available on Sunday.
Call Star reporter Mike Chappell at (317) 444-6830.
I guess the 2nd to last paragraph confirms Mathis won't play.
Super Bowl XLI Champions 2000 Eastern Conference Champions