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Colts have full entourage of vets at training camp while 1st-round pick haggles over deal

Reggie Wayne ditched the flashy training camp entrance and sneaked in without saying a word.

Just like the Colts wanted it.

Peyton Manning's favorite receiver and Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis ended the speculation about potential holdouts by reporting to Indianapolis' new camp home, Anderson University, on time Sunday.

"All Indianapolis Colts players under contract have reported to training camp," the team said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.

It sounded good, though the team's new reporting-day policy assured there would be no comedy routine — or immediate face time — from Wayne, Mathis or almost any other Colts' player.

Wayne and Mathis caused quite a stir in June when they skipped the team's mandatory three-day minicamp as a protest to rework their current contracts. Both players have two years remaining on their deals.

To avoid any potential distractions, team officials prohibited access to all players except Manning — something they had never done since the Colts moved training camp to Anderson in 1984. Television cameras and a pool photographer were permitted to shoot arriving players but were kept 75 to 100 yards away, with fans even farther back.

The only four-time MVP in league history would have preferred to see what trick Wayne was going to pull out this year.

"That is always kind of fun to see," Manning said. "You'd always hear he did this or he did that, but you never really believed it. He drove, what was it last year, a truck?"

Actually, it was a dump truck complete with hard hat and orange construction vest, Peyton.

No such luck this year, and it wouldn't have made sense anyway.

"Since you all have been quarantined over here, I think he'd be disappointed," Manning said. "No one would be there to film it. I think he'd be disappointed — though it might save him some money."

The Colts had their own business dealings to work out, too.

One unidentified player was excused Sunday to deal with what the team called a "family matter." Team spokesman Craig Kelley said the player was expected to practice Monday morning.

Another absentee was first-round draft pick Jerry Hughes, who still has not agreed to terms on a contract.

The rookie defensive end is expected to give the Colts more flexibility in their pass rush this season and coach Jim Caldwell remains hopeful Hughes will arrive in time for Monday's opening workout.

"I anticipate that, yes," Caldwell said about four hours before the team's reporting deadline.

The Colts also signed veteran cornerback Deshea Townsend, who played all 12 of his NFL seasons in Pittsburgh. The move gives Indy some much-needed experience at a crucial position. Kelvin Hayden, a six-year veteran, was the only player on Indy's roster with more than one season in the NFL.

Caldwell also had some promising news for Colts fans.

He said receiver Anthony Gonzalez, who missed all but the first quarter last season with a right knee injury, and safety Bob Sanders, who missed all but two games last year with knee and biceps injuries, are not expected to open practice on the physically unable to perform list.

Gonzalez saw only limited work during the team's minicamps and went to Tennessee in July to work out exclusively with Manning and Austin Collie.

Sanders has been on PUP three times in the past four years. The one year he wasn't, 2007, Sanders was selected NFL defensive player of the year.

"Bob was here during the spring, he did a great job, he felt good, moved around well," Caldwell said, deflecting speculation about Sanders' health. "I fully anticipate that (he will practice). I anticipate everyone on the bubble will participate."

Manning had offseason surgery, too.

Doctors repaired a pinched nerve in Manning's neck in March, and it hasn't slowed him. He practiced throughout the spring with his teammates — even while Wayne and Mathis stayed home — and says he's feeling better than ever as he focuses on winning a second Super Bowl.

"My focus is to get better as a player, to get my timing down with any of the players, whether it's Brody Eldridge or Brandon James," Manning said. "I want to get better every day. I think that's what training camp is about, getting better."