Kolb cites lack of communication in Manning chase

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Quarterback Kevin Kolb says he has no hard feelings toward the Arizona Cardinals for their pursuit of Peyton Manning, but he wishes the team had communicated with him better while that highly publicized process was ongoing.

Kolb, in his first public comments on the issue, said he has since talked with coach Ken Whisenhunt about his concerns.

"Without getting into too much detail about our conversation, I just said in the future if you can just communicate with me, I can take it, if this is the route you're going," Kolb said. "I'd just rather hear it from him than the ticker. He agreed. That's how relationships grow and that's where we're heading."

Kolb spoke to reporters Monday as the players gathered for organized conditioning workouts.

"Look, everybody knows what this league is about," he said. "If you've been in it for awhile you understand that you've got to fight for your job every single day and every single year. It's management's job here and in every organization to make sure they do their best to improve every position. In my mind, it's their right to go look wherever they need to look. The only thing is there were a few things that could have been handled a little bit different. We've discussed those and look forward to the future and winning a lot of football games together."

The quarterback, whose first season with Arizona was plagued by injury, is in a fight with John Skelton for the starting job.

Kolb was asked if the team's attention to Manning would add to his motivation.

"You get fueled by a lot of things," Kolb said. "Sure, that will add some sort of spark, but I mean I'm fighting for my job anyway. Like I said, I approach every day like that. John and I are competing. We've talked about that before. So there's plenty to get fired up about and get a spark about. More than that, it's my responsibility. I mean, they made some big moves to get me here and it's my responsibility to hold up my end of the deal."

The Cardinals sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick to Philadelphia to get Kolb, then signed the quarterback to a five-year, $63 million contract, with $21 million guaranteed. Kolb sweated out a March 16 deadline to find out if he would get the $7 million bonus if he remained on the Arizona roster. Had the Cardinals nabbed Manning, they would have released Kolb because they would have needed that money for a Manning contract.

"I turned my phone off to get away from things and played with my kids," Kolb said of that Friday. "That's about the only thing you can do. It's a tough situation but I've been through a few tough ones in my career so far. It helps me to deal with each one. Every time you go through something like that it builds character. That's what I try to take from it."

With no offseason with the team because of the players' labor dispute with the NFL, Kolb struggled to adapt to Whisenhunt's offense.

The team won its season opener against Carolina, but lost the next six. Then Kolb was sidelined with a turf toe. Skelton came on and was at the controls as Arizona won three of its next four. Kolb returned and had his best game of the season in a victory over Dallas. But he took a knee to the head early in the next game, against San Francisco, and the concussion put him out for the remainder of the season. Arizona finished the season 8-8, winning seven of its last nine games.

"It was just a whirlwind," Kolb said, "coming in with no offseason like we did, and then the injuries and starting the way we did. It was just an awkward season, especially for myself. I just look forward to getting in a groove, getting confidence with this team."

He said his concussion symptoms didn't disappear until three weeks after the season ended.

Kolb and Skelton both tossed a few passes at the end of the conditioning workout.

The Manning situation didn't affect Skelton all that much.

"He's a great player, a surefire Hall of Fame guy," Skelton said. "Why would you not want him in your locker room? It works out either way, whether we got him or we didn't. Kevin and I are just going to go on like it never happened."

Skelton said the coaches have told him "it will be an open competition" for the starting job.

And Kolb said that there's no room for brooding in the NFL.

" You can't get your feelings hurt in this business," he said. "That's just the way it is. I didn't take it as that and I won't ever take it as that."

Tight end Jeff King, though, said that there's no way the pursuit of Manning can't have an impact on Kolb's inner feelings.

"Hey, if they were looking to bring in another tight end, I'd take it personal," King said. "It's your job. That's what you do. I'm sure it's added some fuel to his fire and I hope we reap the benefits of that."

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