Wayne thrown for a loss

Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne runs for a touchdown against the Titans in Indianapolis, Ind.,...

Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne runs for a touchdown against the Titans in Indianapolis, Ind., Jan. 2, 2011. (ANDY LYONS/Getty Images/AFP)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:36 AM ET

TORONTO - With Kerry Collins now a member of the Indianapolis Colts and an expensive one at that what with a one-year, $4-million contract in his pocket, you’d think he’d be greeted with open arms as a potential saviour in the case that Peyton Manning can’t answer the bell.

Perhaps it’s the shock of contemplating a season starting without Manning at the helm but wide receiver Reggie Wayne didn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Collins when the news of his acquisition was made on Wednesday.

“We don’t even know him, we ain’t vanilla, man, we ain’t no simple offence,” Wayne told reporters. “So for him to come in here and be the starter, I don’t see it. I think that’s a step back.”

A step back from Manning for sure but the addition of Collins would have to be a step up over the likes of potential backups Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky or Mike Hartline.

But that wasn’t Wayne’s point.

“Who says Kerry’s going to be the starter?” Wayne went on. “Just because we bring him in doesn’t mean he’s the starter. He’s got to learn too, right? Unless they gave him a playbook months ago, he’s got to learn to.

“I don’t care who you are, I mean I’m not going to let anyone just come in here and just push someone aside like you’re that dog now, you know what I mean?”

Wayne may be loyal and all but perhaps he didn’t get the memo from Colts president Bill Polian who said that if Manning isn’t ready to go, if he hasn’t recovered from neck surgery, than Collins is his man.

“All he has to do is get physically ready,” Polian said of Collins. “There’s no offence he can’t master in 48 hours from a conceptual standpoint.”

Wayne may not know that the quarterback job isn’t open to a vote, especially his.

Here today ...

Things move quickly in the NFL — you’re a star one day, gone the next.

The latest player to understand that concept is the Green Bay Packers Ryan Grant.

A steady performer since being acquired from the Giants, Grant was the Packers premier running back for three consecutive years. In 2009, he rushed for 1,253 yards, his second consecutive 1,000-yard season, and scored 11 touchdowns. He was as secure as a running back could be and was thought of as being one of the Packers’ main offensive cogs.

But then things happened.

Last year Grant suffered an ankle injury in the opening game of the season and the subsequent surgery knocked him out for the rest of the season.

After he went down the Packers’ running game ground to a halt and it wasn’t until late in the season and through their Super Bowl run that James Starks emerged as a back with talent and promise.

Grant is back in camp this season but he no longer is the featured back and the other day faced with the possibility of being released, he helped his cause by taking a $1 million pay cut in exchange for a guaranteed contract.

Grant’s base salary was reduced from $3.5 million to $2.5 million but it is fully guaranteed. But what’s not guaranteed is his job.

It is clear that Grant now sits behind Starks, rookie Alex Green and fullback John Kuhn. He has reached the point where he has to beat out Dimitri Nance to make the team.

That’s a big fall from grace but it’s life in the NFL.

Straight talk

Bradie James has just become one of my favourite players in the league and it has nothing to do with anything he has done on the field.

The Dallas Cowboys are a polarizing team in that fans either love them or hate them. The ‘America’s Team’ tag is nauseating enough but the ’Boys have gone way beyond that for decades what with their swagger and arrogance and their we-are-the-Cowboys, who-the-hell-are-you attitude.

A linebacker by trade, James was drafted in the fourth round of the 2003 draft and has been a starter for the past six years. In that time he has never missed a game and has led the team in tackles for six consecutive years. So when he talks, you listen.

In his career with Dallas, James has played in five playoff games and he’s been a winner just once, back in 2009 when the Cowboys beat the Eagles in the wild-card round.

In a recent interview, James admitted that he thought that by now he’d have a Super Bowl ring or two, but obviously in that regard he and the rest of the Cowboys have come up short.

Why no rings he was asked? The answer cut like a lighthouse beacon on a cloudless night.

“I think the entitlement kills us,” James replied. “Our alumni, our former greats have made us America’s Team and we reap benefits that we haven’t earned — all the way around, as individuals, as a team. Those guys earned it. We just think we deserve it.”

But James didn’t stop there, noting that the lack of playoff wins isn’t the result of lack of talent.

“I’ve been on three of the most talented teams I have ever played on and hadn’t gotten it,” he said of being ringless. “You are asking why and what is missing. What I am telling you is we will find out when we go earn ours.”

There is a ring there, the ring of truth.

Congrats James, you nailed it.

CJ, Titans running in different directions

Running back Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans seemed to be closer together when they weren’t talking.

Following their meeting on Wednesday, reports have surfaced indicating that the two sides are no closer to solving the impasse.

Johnson, one of the leagues more gifted running backs, has not been in camp as he wants a new contract.

“I feel like I came in and they gave me their points and we gave them our points and we are not seeing eye-to-eye right now,” Johnson told the Tennessean.

In a statement released by the team, the Titans echoed that view.

“We were able to discuss several different elements of a potential contract, but there was no agreement on those topics,” Tennessee general manager Mike Reinfeldt said.

The thinking now is that Johnson wants to be paid in excess of $10 million per season and that is beyond what the Titans are willing to do.

That has led to speculation that the only way out for both sides is if the Titans can swing a deal to a team that is willing to meet Johnson’s demands.

In the interim, the Titans are thin at the running-back position with the opening of the regular season just a little more than two weeks away.

Maybe they should call the Packers.


Photos