NFL Orders Colts, Saints Pro Bowlers To Attend Game; Polian Slams Decision

This sounds like a smart-aleck jab at the Colts for what they did in Week 16, but the team’s Pro Bowl selections will be allowed to leave Sunday’s game early.

That’s after they fly in for the game hours earlier, as required by the NFL.

FOXSports.com, citing an unnamed source, reports that quarterback Peyton Manning, safety Antoine Bethea, tight end Dallas Clark, center Jeff Saturday, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis can depart at halftime. They’ll fly back to Indianapolis on Sunday night, according to the report, only to get back on a plane Monday and fly to South Florida to begin Super Bowl preparations.

The Saints’ seven Pro Bowlers will have a similar itinerary, FOX reports, but it is unclear whether they will stay for the entire game.

Though none of the 14 players will need to suit up, the NFL is requiring that they attend the game or forfeit their game check. Players on the winning team will receive $45,000; losing team players will receive $22,500.

Colts president Bill Polian, in an interview Tuesday with ESPN Radio in Indianapolis, slammed the NFL’s decision. (Click here for a transcript and audio from the interview.)

“If it weren’t for the Pro Bowl disruption, (the team) would have the weekend off, but they can’t because we have to send those players to Miami to do Lord knows what,” Polian said. “We’ll come back and practice on Sunday and the Pro Bowl players will go and do whatever they have to do and then the team will leave on Monday.”

SportingNews.com
1/27/10