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Manning chats with Polian, Caldwell after confusion over assistants

INDIANAPOLIS -- Peyton Manning may not have all the answers about the Colts' coaching staff.

But at least he's on the same page as management.

Ten days after complaining about a lack of communication with the front office, the Colts' franchise quarterback said he now understands Indianapolis' plan -- with or without recently retired assistants Tom Moore and Howard Mudd.

"I feel like I have a good grasp of what's going on right now in terms of who's here," Manning said on Friday. "There still are some unknowns out there. I feel like we will be in a good situation and that coach (Jim) Caldwell will handle things accordingly."

That's a stark contrast from Manning's previous comments.

The three-time league MVP and Super Bowl winner opened an offseason workout last week by expressing frustration over the uncertain futures of Moore and Mudd.

Discussions between Manning, team president Bill Polian and Caldwell helped alleviate some of Manning's concerns and prompted Manning to respond Friday with answers more compatible to the company line.

"You can what-if yourself to death," Manning said as the Colts opened a three-day mandatory minicamp. "I do know Jim Caldwell has a plan. He kind of told me the either/or scenario, and I'll be there to support it whatever way we go."

For Manning, it's already been an unusually complicated offseason.

Caldwell replaced the retired Tony Dungy in January, and perennial Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison was released in a cost-cutting move in February. Manning and Harrison formed the most prodigious passing duo in league history.

So when Moore and Mudd, the only offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Manning has worked with in his NFL career, suddenly retired last month to avoid losing money because of a change made to the league's pension plan, the Colts had to adapt quickly.

Polian has said assistant head coach Clyde Christensen would assume play-calling duties in Moore's absence and Pete Metzelaars, the assistant offensive line coach, would replace Mudd, though the team has not officially announced those title changes.

Team owner Jim Irsay also said he plans to bring Moore and Mudd back as consultants, but the Colts still don't know when they can officially return.

So Indy could wrap up its offseason workouts next week with no resolution less than two months from the start of training camp.

Manning wants answers, but the Colts can't provide all of them right now.

"The great thing about this league is that you better be able to adjust," Caldwell said. "It requires an open mind and requires someone that can be somewhat flexible."

He again credited Christensen with playing a significant role in the Colts' third-down and red-zone conversion percentages last season. Indy led the league in both categories.

Three-time Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne also gave Christensen and Metzelaars strong endorsements.

But Manning's initial comments surprised Wayne.

"I don't know what's wrong with that guy," Wayne joked. "I was flipping through the TV channels and I saw Peyton on there, and he was kind of frustrated a little bit. But I guess when you're No. 18, you need a little security. I guess he felt he was a little behind the cloud, but when I've seen him he's been smiling, so hopefully they got that worked out."

Wayne arrived in town on Wednesday and is expected to attend all three days of minicamp this weekend. He has been working out in Miami, where he usually trains during the summer.

Will the team's explanations satisfy Manning?

Perhaps, but Manning doesn't have much of a choice.

He intends to focus on football and leave the decisions to others.

"There is no question we've had great stability around here for a long time," Manning said. "I do think all that goes hand in hand, so I think Tom and I have had that great mesh. But change is part of the process and we've dealt with it before and adjusted, and that's what we have to do."

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