Footloose

Mike Vanderjagt's foot (and mouth) give the Colts the kick they need.

Updated: October 14, 2003, 11:34 AM ET
By Tom Friend | ESPN The Magazine
The evidence is stored away in Canada, collecting dust. A cable-TV tape, a Pro Bowl tape, a faxed letter. None of it will ever see the light of day, much less the inside of a courtroom, but, damn it, the Vanderjagt family has been tempted at times. Tempted to sue Peyton Manning. Tempted to sue every talking head.

On what grounds? Try slander. Try watching a game with the father, who balls his fists up when an announcer refers to his son as "that liquored-up kicker." Try watching Monday Night Countdown with the mother, who wants to cry when Michael Irvin calls her son "a virus" in the locker room. Try being their son on the 35-yard line, about to kick a game-winning field goal, hearing a Browns linebacker say, "Want a beer first, Vanderjagt?"

Tom Friend

ESPN.com Senior writer
Tom Friend is a senior writer for ESPN.com and a features reporter for ESPN TV. He has formerly worked for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Sports Daily, Kansas City Star and San Jose Mercury News.

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