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Peyton Manning says Joseph Addai is heading to New England

Joseph Addai,  Sen'Derrick Marks

Indianapolis Colts running back Joseph Addai, left, gets past Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)


When Peyton Manning left Indianapolis for Denver, there was some talk that free agent running back Joseph Addai might follow. But according to Manning, Addai is actually heading to a longtime rival.

Manning, who is back in Indianapolis this weekend for a charity function, told Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star that Addai is signing with the Patriots.

There’s been no word yet from either Addai or the Patriots about that, so it’s possible that Manning is getting ahead of himself. If Addai does end up in New England, he’ll join a Patriots backfield that includes Danny Woodhead and two backs who were rookies last year, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley.

In the 2006 NFL draft, Bill Belichick decided to pass on Addai and take running back Laurence Maroney with the 21st overall pick. The Colts then drafted Addai with the 30th pick.

Although he’s a smart player who understands the passing game and is good at picking up blitzes, it’s fair to ask whether the 29-year-old Addai really has anything left as a runner: In 2011 Addai had 118 carries for a career-low 433 yards and just one touchdown.

UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has confirmed that Peyton Manning is a better reporter than Rob Lowe: Addai will sign with the Patriots.