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Monday, February 3
Updated: March 25, 4:27 PM ET
Manning calls Vanderjagt an 'idiot kicker'

Associated Press

HONOLULU -- Peyton Manning called teammate Mike Vanderjagt an "idiot kicker" at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, three days after Vanderjagt apologized for making disparaging remarks about the Indianapolis Colts quarterback.

Colts would save money
if they punted Vanderjagt
Some Colts officials are almost as surprised by Peyton Manning's comments about kicker Mike Vanderjagt as they were by Vanderjagt's original statements.

The Colts have not said publicly whether Vanderjagt will be welcomed back to the team after his criticisms of Manning and head coach Tony Dungy. One thing is certain: There are no cap implications that would prevent the Colts from releasing or trading Vanderjagt.

In fact, they would save money.

Vanderjagt is signed through 2005 on a $7.75 million, five-year extension he received in 2000. That deal made him the NFL's highest-paid kicker at the time.

If Vanderjagt were to be released before June 1, the Colts would actually save $900,000 against the cap for 2003. That would also be true if here were traded at any time. If he were to be released after June 1, the Colts would save $1.4 million against the cap. The team also would save significant money against the cap in 2004 and '05.

The Colts do have another kicker signed. Even before Vanderjagt opened his mouth, the Colts had signed Brett Conway for two years with a $50,000 signing bonus and base salaries of $530,000 in 2003 and $535,000 in 2004.

Obviously, he's a lot cheaper than Vanderjagt, but there is a large gap between the two kickers' performance levels.
-- Len Pasquarelli,

Manning made the comment during a live interview on ABC. He also claimed Vanderjagt was "liquored up" at the time of the Canadian cable TV interview earlier this week in which he said Manning should show more emotion.

"Here we are," Manning said. "I'm out at my third Pro Bowl, I'm about to go in and throw a touchdown to Jerry Rice, we're honoring the Hall of Fame, and we're talking about our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off.

"The sad thing is, he's a good kicker. He's a good kicker. But he's an idiot."

A message from The Associated Press was left at the office of Vanderjagt's agent, Gil Scott, on Monday.

Vanderjagt also criticized Colts coach Tony Dungy in the interview with The Score, a Toronto-based cable sports network.

"I'm not a real big Colts fan right now, unfortunately. I just don't see us getting better," Vanderjagt said during the interview.

"Coach Dungy, he's just a mild-mannered guy. He doesn't get too excited, he doesn't get too down and I don't think that works, either. ... I think you need a motivator, I think you need a guy that is going to get in somebody's face when they're not performing well enough."

Dungy said late last week that Vanderjagt's future with the Colts rested with the veteran kicker.

"It's not in doubt because of what he said," Dungy said.

Vanderjagt, the most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history, apologized Thursday to Dungy, Manning and the rest of his teammates. He signed a $7.75 million, five-year contract extension with the Colts in November 2000 -- at the time making him the league's highest-paid kicker.

"When I get home, I'll deal with it," Manning said. "If he is still a teammate, we'll deal with it. That remains to be seen."

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Peyton Manning has some strong words for teammate Mike Vanderjagt.
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