ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --With talk of homecomings encircling Sunday night's showdown between the Broncos and Colts, tight end Jacob Tamme took a lighthearted approach to how his own return to the city where he spent the first four years of his career will be received.
"Yeah, I hear it's a pretty big deal," Tamme joked to the media on Wednesday. "It's a real circus, you know."
As quarterback Peyton Manning prepares to make his return to Indianapolis, Tamme – who hauled 92 passes for 855 yards as a member of the Colts between 2008 and 2011 – noted that he's excited about going back to Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
"It's a fun week. It really is," Tamme said. "Obviously, it's a big deal – Peyton going back. I spent four years there, four good years. I have a lot of friends there and a lot of good memories. It's going to be a fun week."
And while his excitement about returning was evident, Tamme noted that any further emotions about going back won't likely set in until much closer to game time, although more important priorities – such as locating a visitor's locker room he's never been in – might take greater precedence.
"You know, I haven't really spent a lot of time thinking about it until the last couple of days," he said. "I think when you get on the bus to go – you go to a place so many times as a home player, you go in as a visitor. I have no idea where the visitor's locker room is. I'm about to find out."
Tamme also noted that he didn't have any idea about how Manning would feel about making his return.
"I really can't even imagine. He was there for longer than me," Tamme said. "He was the turnaround of the franchise, you know, in a lot of ways. Obviously, there were a lot of people that were a part of that, but he was the face of it and did a lot of great things. It's hard to say. I don't know. It'll be emotional, I'm sure."
One thing that will be certain, as Tamme pointed out, is that the Colts will have a changed complexion from the tight end's time with the organization.
"The Colts organization has had a lot of turnover, from top to bottom," Tamme said. "Players, scheme, the whole thing is a lot different than when I was there, when Peyton was there. A lot of learning to do this week and it'll be a big game for us."
Despite the differences, Tamme said that the AFC South-leading Colts' continued success isn't a surprise to him.
"Not really surprised," Tamme said. "They've got a good quarterback, they've got a lot of good, young players. I'm not surprised, I don't think."
Not everything will be different, however. Tamme pointed out that the presence of former teammates like linebacker Robert Mathis, safety Antoine Bethea and wide receiver Reggie Wayne, among others, will be felt on Sunday.
"Those are two really good ones," Tamme said. "I got to go against Robert for quite a few years in practice. Robert's a great player. Antoine is a great player, also. They've got a lot of good players. Those guys – a few of the stalwarts – are still there. Obviously, you've got Reggie on offense."
His familiarity of Mathis and Bethea also allowed for a clear picture of the challenge that awaits the Broncos on Sunday.
"We've got our work cut out for us offensively, here," he said. "Their defense does a good job in a lot of areas and obviously Robert and Antoine are a big part of that."
And as he returns to Indianapolis with Manning, Tamme also reflected on having the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback as a teammate throughout his first six seasons in the NFL.
"Pretty blessed, pretty lucky to be here now and be a part of this, what we have going," Tamme said. "Certainly, having Peyton for your QB for your career so far – you can't really complain about that."
Ultimately, however, Tamme pointed out that any storylines surrounding the game are inconsequential to what happens on the field – and in that regard, preparation remains the same for this week as any other.
"Every week that we're playing right now is a pretty big game," he said. "Obviously, this one has other storylines, which don't really affect our preparation all that much. At the end of the day, obviously, it's a big deal on the outside and it's a big deal when you're going back to a place, but really the bottom line is we're trying to prepare to win a game. Really, nothing on the outside has a big effect on that."