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Manning confident Harrison can rebound in 2008

INDIANAPOLIS -- Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is holding off on judging teammate Marvin Harrison and the receiver's legal issues.

Harrison has been interviewed by police about a shooting near his North Philadelphia car wash last month, but hasn't been arrested or charged. Manning didn't make much of it when it first was reported, and he hasn't spoken with Harrison about the incident.

"I didn't have a whole lot of reaction to it because I hadn't talked to anybody personally about it," Manning said. "I've been around long enough that until I hear from somebody that really knows what's going on, I don't give it a lot of merit."

Manning is more concerned about Harrison's bad knees, which caused his top receiver to miss most of last season. Harrison eventually had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in January and has been rehabilitating an inflamed capsule in his left knee.

Manning believes Harrison will recover and return to being dominant, despite being 35 and hurt. Harrison has caught 1,042 career passes for 13,944 yards and 123 touchdowns in 12 years, mostly from Manning.

"I don't think there's any question he can still do it," Manning said. "Obviously, that's our hope -- that he'll be 100 percent healthy to be able to play against Chicago in the season opener. That is what we expect. Marvin has told us he will be 100 percent and ready to go. That's what we need for our team to be as good as it can be in 2008."

Colts coach Tony Dungy was told Thursday night that Harrison's recovery is on schedule. Harrison joined the team for the start of minicamp Friday, but he, defensive end Dwight Freeney and safety Bob Sanders won't be on the field during the camp.

Freeney had surgery after a season-ending left foot injury last November. Sanders, the league's reigning defensive player of the year, had shoulder surgery for the second straight year.

Dungy said all three are recovering well.

The Colts have some uncertainty at running back after backup Kenton Keith was arrested last month. Police said he refused to leave the parking lot of a nightclub. He was charged with criminal trespassing and has pleaded not guilty.

Perhaps as insurance, the Colts re-signed running back Dominic Rhodes this month, adding him to a stable that includes Joseph Addai and rookie Mike Hart.

Rhodes played a key role as the Colts won the Super Bowl two seasons ago, but didn't get in the rotation much last season in Oakland after he was suspended the first four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

"It was frustrating," he said. "I put myself in that situation by getting in trouble and missing those four games. I gave another guy an opportunity. When you do that in this league, somebody takes advantage, usually."

Manning is glad Rhodes is back.

"I think it gives us a real boost," Manning said. "It gives us a veteran player there that is familiar with this system. It'll take him a little time to catch up on any changes that we've made. Dominic played great for us when he was here. He ran great against us in Oakland, so you feel that he's still got it."

Rhodes carries off-the-field baggage. He was pulled over by an Indiana state trooper in February 2007 for driving 81 mph in a 55-mph zone. He was originally charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit, but later pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

He said he's ready to do things the right way now that he has a second chance.

"What I've done in the past -- I've lived up to it. I'm a grown man. I understand that those things weren't the right things to do, and I'm going to do what I have to do to stay out of those situations."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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