Harrison ducks coverage
Although a police investigation continues into a shooting last month in North Philadelphia involving his gun, Marvin Harrison reported to the Indianapolis Colts' minicamp yesterday, coach Tony Dungy said.
A Philadelphia native and 12-year veteran of the Colts, Harrison, 35, is rehabilitating his knee after off-season surgery and did not practice with the team. A Colts spokesman said Harrison declined a request to speak with reporters.
No one at the Colts' facility on the west side of Indianapolis wanted to discuss the incident, which occurred on April 29 near a garage and detail shop Harrison owns at 25th and Thompson Streets. Police questioned Harrison for nearly four hours about the incident but have said that he is not a suspect. No incident report has been filed.
Yesterday, hoping to limit reporters' questioning of players and team officials, the Colts closed their locker room - a first for a minicamp - and released a statement about Harrison:
"With respect to questions regarding Marvin Harrison being interviewed by police in Philadelphia, we have nothing to add to [team president] Bill Polian's statement issued two weeks ago. We don't anticipate addressing any such questions unless and until there is an official report of the facts from the Philadelphia Police Department."
When news broke that Harrison had been questioned in relation to the alleged shooting, Polian said on May 2: "We have no credible information at this time and we will not comment until we do."
Although practice and qualifying continues for the Indianapolis 500 - a consuming event in Indiana - there wasere a throng of reporters, including three from out of town, attended for the first day of the three-day, mandatory minicamp. Team officials instructed players not to speak about Harrison's situation, and a team public-relations official interrupted questions to head coach Tony Dungy about the coach's Dungy's recent dealings with Harrison.
Dungy did say that Harrison was in the building, although no reporters at the facility said they saw him. Dungy said he had not spoken to Harrison since the incident occurred, but "at some point I will, yeah," Dungy said.
In an interview posted last night on the NFL's own Web site, Dungy said: "Marvin is here. He is in rehab mode. He is doing everything doctors are asking. We're really in the mode of looking at the football side and getting him ready to go. He's got to deal with the other things. There is a lot of misinformation out there. He has told us when the time comes, when it's all out in the open, he will be vindicated. The Philadelphia police will do their jobs and once they have something more to report, we'll look at that."
The Colts limited access to practice to local media. Indianapolis Star reporter Mike Chappell said that Harrison was not on the field for the 1 hour, 40 minutes he was allowed to watch. Every other player on the roster was on the field, including the injured Dwight Freeney.
Playing his 12th season last year, the typically durable Harrison injured his left knee in the fourth game against Denver. He sat out the next week against Tampa Bay, then after the Colts' bye week, tried to play at Jacksonville, but was limited to three catches for 16 yards.
Harrison flirted with coming back during the regular season, but he didn't make his next start until Jan. 13 in a 28-24 playoff loss to San Diego. He was a shell of his former self, with two catches for 27 yards and a costly turnover.
During the off-season, Harrison had surgery to clean out his right knee. The Colts expect he will be ready for their season-opener against Chicago on Sept. 7, when they open the new, downtown Lucas Oil Stadium.
"We feel we should be in good shape if Marvin comes back [from the injury]," Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning said. "That should be the plan."
Manning said that he had not spoken to Harrison, but added that he takes any player-related news with a grain of salt.
"I had text messages from friends, but I hadn't talked to Coach Dungy or I hadn't talked to Marvin," Manning said, "and I've been around long enough, until I hear from somebody that truly knows what's going on, I don't give it a whole lot of merit. That was sort of where I was when I heard about it."
Colts center Jeff Saturday, a player representative to the NFL Players Association, said he was "shocked" when he heard the news, but when detectives said Harrison wasn't a suspect, "I really just kind of put it behind me and wished him the best and hope everything works out quickly," Saturday said.
"The worst thing is you don't want a guy who has the reputation he has for so many years in this league to get tarnished over something that he really had no control over, and hopefully that's what'll end up coming out."
The Colts camp ends tomorrow afternoon.
Contact staff writer Ashley Fox
at 215-854-5064 or firstname.lastname@example.org.