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Colts Daily Headlines: December 31st Edition

Intro: Each morning will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe.


INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will have their first practice of the week this afternoon in a condensed work week. Today's news looks at a player's only meeting, looking back on the first Colts/Chiefs meeting and the healthy Chiefs.

Take a look below at the top pieces fromTuesday, December 31st.**Mathis: Accountability demanded in players-only meeting**By: Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star

Holder takes a look at the Colts mindset following two November defeats which left the Colts coming together as one, instead of branching off in different directions.

The team's leadership, knowing it was an unsustainable path, decided to step in.

"There was a players-only meeting of the minds," outside linebacker Robert Mathis revealed today. "It was really just a gut-check meeting."

The meeting came after "one of those games where we kind of got blown out of the water. It's a distant memory. But it was guys meeting, men talking and holding each other accountable. And we responded quite nicely."

Whether that truly was the turning point of a season that, at the time, was on the verge of going horribly wrong is debatable. But something clearly changed, resulting in three consecutive wins by a combined score of 78-20.

Mathis didn't underplay the importance.

"It was a lot of guys who are older and that are in the position of being a leader to speak up," Mathis said. "Actually, anybody that wanted to say anything, the floor was open. We got good results from it."

How much impact will the first Colts/Chiefs meeting on Dec. 23 have when the two teams reconvene this weekend?

"You're a fool to think that the game turns out the same way because it turned out and it was just two weeks ago," Colts veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri said. "I know that our team is going to prepare and get ready to play and usually the games are different. Hopefully the outcome is the same, but they're never the same as the game progresses along. You have to be prepared and ready to go. It'll be different guys making different plays and different set of circumstances for the outcome of the game."

Colts linebacker Robert Mathis has further proof that that theory doesn't always work.

He was a member of the 2005 team, one that former Colts coach Tony Dungy called the best in his tenure with the team, that beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-7 during the regular season.

The two teams met again in the playoffs at the RCA Dome. The outcome -- and the Colts' Super Bowl aspirations -- died that mid-January afternoon.

The Steelers beat the Colts 21-18.

"They came back and beat us first, we were a one-and-done team," Mathis said. "And that was arguably the best team we had that year since I've been here. So don't fall for the banana in the tailpipe. They're coming to play, so you better come to play. Bring you're A-game and your lunch pail."

**Chiefs should be in good shape in Indy**By: Adam Teicher,

There might not be a healthier team heading into the playoffs than the Kansas City Chiefs.

Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (concussion) and outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) did not play in Sunday's loss to the San Diego Chargers. But coach Andy Reid said Bowe was in the process of being cleared to return and could practice on Tuesday when the Chiefs begin preparations for the Colts.

Reid indicated the swelling in Hali's sore knee had gone down.

Two players who have missed several straight games, offensive tackle Branden Albert (knee) and outside linebacker Justin Houston (elbow), are set to return against the Colts. Each could have played in San Diego but the Chiefs decided to hold them out for one more week.

Starting cornerback Sean Smith left Sunday's game with a knee injury, but he will be available to play against Indianapolis.

The only player who could miss the game because of injury is reserve linebacker James-Michael Johnson. One of the Chiefs' top special-teams players, Johnson injured an ankle against the Chargers.

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