Freeney's injury thrusts Brock into Super Bowl limelight

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By Steve Ginsburg

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (Reuters) - A right ankle injury to Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney has thrown little-known reserve Raheem Brock into the limelight just days before Sunday's Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium.

With Freeney walking gingerly and listed as questionable for the game against the New Orleans Saints, Brock went from obscurity to the center ring in the Super Bowl's media circus.

"Right now we're approaching it as if he's not going to play," the 6-foot-4, 274-pound Brock told reporters Wednesday.

"That's how we're approaching everything. If he's able to play, he'll probably come in on third down. We won't need to show him anything -- he knows how to get to the quarterback."

Though Brock is a capable lineman, no one considers him comparable to Freeney, one of the league's best pass rushers and the anchor of the Colts' defense.

The chance to shine on the game's biggest stage is not lost on Brock, a 31-year-old seventh-round draft pick in 2002. He will share time with Robert Mathis on the defensive front zeroing in on the Saints' Drew Brees.

"I'm always hungry to get an opportunity to get to the quarterback," he said. "I try to take advantage of any opportunities I have because they're short."

"Raheem Brock is a very accomplished veteran on our team," said the 29-year-old Freeney, the 11th pick in the 2002 Draft. "He's very underrated. He's very versatile and he does many things for our defense.

"He's been a cornerstone of this defense for years and we know where he's going to be. He's a very consistent guy and he makes some things happen for us."

Freeney said his injury "won't change anything at all."

"The way we do things around here is next man up," he said. "That's our mentality. It's always been that way. I got hurt in 2007 and it had to be next man up playing."

Brock said the Colts learned some valuable lessons in the 2007 Super Bowl when they knocked off the Chicago Bears 29-17 in a driving rainstorm at Miami's Dolphin Stadium.

"We're happy and excited to be here but we're not overly excited," he said. "I remember the last time I was here I was just crazy excited.

"You just have to keep the younger guys on a short leash and try to remind them that we're here for a reason. It's a business trip. Enjoy it but don't go crazy with it."

(Editing by Alison Wildey)