Will Rogers Centre be Peyton's place?

MIKE ZEISBERGER, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:37 PM ET

TORONTO — - It appears star quarterback Peyton Manning is coming to Toronto this summer to do more than just pose for fan photos on the Rogers Centre sidelines.

When word first came that Manning’s Indianapolis Colts would face the Buffalo Bills in an exhibition contest Aug. 19 in Toronto, cynics immediately suggested that Manning likely would be “one and done.”

In other words, play one series, then give way to a gaggle of young hopefuls most of the crowd had never heard of before.

But according to Colts president Bill Polian, that likely will not be the case.

In fact, expect to see Manning and some of the other big-name Indy get more action than they usually see during a team’s second pre-season game.

Because the Colts open their 2010 exhibition schedule Aug. 15 against the San Francisco 49ers, they will have just three available workout days before taking to the Rogers Centre rug against the Bills.

Normally a team’s pre-season opener is a chance for team officials to look at some of the youthful football beef attempting to make the team. Starters usually get their feet wet in the second exhibition game.

In the case of the Colts, because there is so little practice time between the 49er and Bills games, Polian expects to see Manning and co. get more snaps than is the norm for a team’s second pre-season tilt when they come to Toronto in order to shed some of that accrued off-season rust.

“We’ll probably try to give our starters more time than usual (against the Bills),” Polian said Wednesday morning.

“They might get one series in the 49ers game, but that first game is usually where you want to get a good look at young guys. Because it’s a short week, my guess is, the starters will play a bit more than usual (in Toronto).

“It won’t be into the third quarter like they usually do in the third exhibition game, but I suspect they’ll be in there a bit longer than normal.”

Polian, the architect of the memorable Bills teams that went to the Super Bowl four consecutive times in the early 1990s, was contacted by Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson during the off-season about the possibility of having his Colts be part of the Bills In Toronto Series.

Said Polian: “Mr. Wilson called and said he had a favour to ask. He said: ‘Would you play us in the preseason in Toronto?’”

Polian told Wilson that the Colts would be honoured to.

Given Polian’s ties to Canada and the CFL, it is easy to see why.

Polian’s CFL resume includes being a scout for the Montreal Alouettes and the personnel director of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he worked with long-time Bombers coach/GM Cal Murphy. Murphy is now a scout for Polian’s Colts.

Polian’s youngest son, Dennis, worked for the Hamilton Ti-Cats two years ago under Bob O’Billovich. Dennis is now employed by the Minnesota Vikings.

Polian also has a buddy inside the Maple Leafs offices.

“It’s no secret that Brian Burke and I are close friends,” Polian said. “We speak frequently and share knowledge.”

Polian remains a fan of the CFL and does not believe the league should be threatened in any way by the NFL hosting one regular-season game per year in Toronto.

“The CFL has a unique culture all it’s own and I don’t think this will change that,” he said, adding that suggestions of the NFL one day expanding to Toronto are pure speculation.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people more in the know than I, that expansion (anywhere) is not in the immediate future,” he said.


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