TAMPA, Fla.--Lovie Smith will be partaking in some of the buildup for Super Bowl XLIII.
According to the Tampa Tribune, Smith will join his close friend Tony Dungy on stage Friday night in a gospel celebration at the University of South Florida.
It is the 10th year the event has been held, and the recently retired Dungy will receive an award.
"We dance, we sing, we praise and we go on for a long time," says event founder Melanie Few. "We're not going to let Snoop Dogg have all the fun. This is the happening party.''
*** Bears running back Adrian Peterson has some remarkable company.
He is one of 10 athletes who will be inducted into the inaugural class of the Southern Conference Hall of Fame. The list includes golfer Arnold Palmer, Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff, basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West, North Carolina running back Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice and 1960 National League MVP Dick Groat.
The 1999 Walter Payton Award winner, Peterson holds 16 I-AA records. Ceremonies will be held May 4 in Spartanburg, S.C.
*** Ricky Manning Jr. walked into the Embassy Suites Wednesday afternoon to pick up the two tickets he's permitted to buy to Super Bowl XLIII, a long trip to make from California for seats he's not going to use Sunday. The St. Louis Rams, who Manning signed with after the Bears released him in August, require their players who want tickets to claim them at the Super Bowl site. Manning said his right ankle has healed nicely. He broke it in October and has been rehabbing in Fresno. He will be a free agent Feb. 27.
"Who knows?'' Manning said. "Maybe I'll end up back with the Bears."
That's an unlikely spot for him but the 28-year-old looked to be in good shape and will certainly find a home somewhere.
*** Manning's distant cousin Danieal Manning will be in town Saturday. He's going to appear with Indianapolis running back Dominic Rhodes at something that's being billed as a Tailgate Pawty. Apparently it's some kind of benefit for the Humane Society of Pinellas County. Woof! Woof!