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Marvin Harrison, the Colt whisperer

WP: Colts receiver Marvin Harrison is not a good fit for Super Bowl week hype
Super Bowl Football
Marvin Harrison speaks during media day at Dolphin Stadium in Miami on Tuesday.Mike Conroy / AP

The woman asking the question wasn't wearing a Super Bowl media credential, so she could have been a ringer, perhaps a relative of one of the Colts — because there's no telling who will show up at media day and ask what. But she shouted loudly enough for dozens of people to hear: "Marvin Harrison . . . can you show me your touchdown dance?"

Harrison, the Indianapolis Colts wide receiver who has been known to spike the ball after a touchdown once every six or seven years, said, "I don't have one." When the woman persisted, and requested that Harrison come over to where she was standing to show her what kind of end zone dance he would do if he had one, Harrison said, his voice lowering, "I can't dance."

These are the kinds of revelations that characterize the annual Super Bowl media day. And Tuesday, we learned that Harrison can't dance and that the Chicago Bears' Brian Urlacher, if he was telling the truth to one of the "American Idol" rejects who was in attendance, cannot sing.

This is the same forum, mind you, where Dexter Manley was asked some years ago, "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"

For the record, nothing much happened at the Colts-Bears media day.

Nobody mooned anybody, or even pantomimed a moon. Nobody decided to make a reputation for himself or a nuisance out of himself, which is about what you'd expect from teams coached by the always appropriate Tony Dungy and his disciple, Lovie Smith.

In fact, the star of Super Bowl XLI media day was a woman you've likely never heard of, a reporter named Inés Sainz who works for TV Azteca, who questioned players while wearing a lace top that seemed to be something between a halter top and bustier. The Bears, Colts and reporters from all over the world simply stopped interviewing each other and began photographing Sainz, who was so, uh, attractive two years ago at media day that she got Bill Belichick to actually look up when she stood in front of him for a question. "What we really need," one Colts player said yesterday, "is a timely wardrobe malfunction." It wouldn't have taken much to cause one.

And to think NFL officials were mortified 14 or 15 years ago when Downtown Julie Brown showed up in fishnets. The old men threatened to shut the whole thing down, they were so afraid of what media day might become.

What it's become is one of the few days when professional football in America doesn't take itself so seriously. Even if things get taken a little too far sometimes, it's a dash of fun in the No Fun League.

Harrison, the man who for my money is the best receiver in the NFL since Jerry Rice, couldn't have been more out of place than to be front-and-center, literally, on media day. He sat on a podium between his engaging head coach, Dungy, and his loquacious quarterback, Peyton Manning. And although Harrison wasn't squirming, it was clear he could have done without the entire experience.

He has spent his whole career trying to be completely invisible, but had no place to hide Tuesday. "I've never seen anything like it," Harrison said, surveying the hordes. "I think Peyton likes this a little bit. But not me. At least I'm getting more and more comfortable as I talk. Watch out, I might just stay up here awhile."

Harrison, who has caught 1,022 passes in 11 NFL seasons, is that rare breed of wide receiver who shuts up and catches the damn ball. When I asked Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney if Harrison is as shy and quiet as those of us in the media perceive him to be, Freeney said: "Yes. Oh, yes, he is."

Harrison actually believes his performance does all the talking that's necessary. "Talking doesn't get you anywhere in football," he said, "although a lot of people at my position do. I know we're the prima donna position, but I don't know how it got that way. I don't have a problem with the guys who talk. Sometimes, it's hilarious as long as it remains fun and doesn't cross the line. But there are definitely some things that raise some red flags. Wherever the line is drawn, I don't think I'll ever get near it."

Asked if he resented the likes of Terrell Owens and Randy Moss and Chad Johnson and Keyshawn Johnson becoming more famous than he is — although he is a better receiver than all of them — Harrison said: "I don't need to be more famous. I have a chance to do something a lot of those flamboyant receivers haven't done, which is win a Super Bowl."

It was a thorough answer, to the point and sincere, probably indicative of the conversation that's going to come from these teams all week. Don't expect anything flamboyant from the Bears or Colts. There's not a Deion in the bunch. Nobody's going to wear a dog collar, as Atlanta's Ray Buchanan did eight years ago when he said Denver's Shannon Sharpe looked like Mr. Ed.

Whether we're talking about Manning or Urlacher, the Colts' Reggie Wayne or the Bears' Alex Brown, they're football players, not entertainers.

Apparently, there's not a Gilbert Arenas in the bunch.

Not that there weren't some great talkers at Super Bowl XLI media day who have played in the big game. There was Deion Sanders sitting on the set of the NFL Network in a beautiful steel-gray suit, custom tailored, naturally. There was Michael Strahan with a camera crew asking questions and Warren Sapp with a camera crew for the NFL Network, having interviewed Inés before just about anybody else had figured out who she was, why she was at media day and if there was anybody else in Dolphin Stadium wearing lace.

It only made you appreciate Marvin Harrison that much more.