Jim Irsay promised changes were on the way. He began making them Monday.
The Indianapolis Colts owner fired vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian, a league source first told NFL Network's Michael Lombardi, and Irsay confirmed the move hours later during a news conference.
"It was a very tough decision for me," Irsay said. "I had a chance to talk to them both, express to them, Bill in particular, how hard it was and the appreciation the franchise has for all that's been done by Bill. This is difficult. This is the tough part of this business."
A league source told NFL Network's Jason La Canfora on Tuesday that Bill Polian is not ready to retire and could be considered a candidate to fill the vacant role of Chicago Bears GM now that Jerry Angelo has been fired.
Irsay called the decision to fire the two Polians after a 2-14 season "intuitive" and noted it had many, many components. He said the search for a new GM would begin immediately, although he hadn't talked to any other teams or candidates.
"I'm grateful for all the support the fans have shown us in good times and bad," Polian said in a statement. "Indianapolis has been a wonderful place to live and work. Most of all I would like to thank the players, coaches and staff who have played the pivotal role in this magnificent journey I will miss them all."
"I'm very surprised and shocked," Manning told The Indianapolis Star. "I don't want to speak for Bill, but I did meet with him and he is (shocked) as well.
"It's a sad day and it's the worst part about this business. I'm sorry that it went down this way."
Irsay acknowledged the Colts are in a "rebuilding" phase and made it clear he has the last say on the major decisions -- including what to do with the No. 1 pick in this year's draft and Manning's future -- coming up in the near future for the franchise.
"On major issues for the franchise, and it's been this way always, that I have final say on them," Irsay said. "That's the way it has to be."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.