Indianapolis Colts  

 

Irsay-Manning back and forth takes over Super Bowl week

  • By NFL.com
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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay kicked off Super Bowl week by vowing not to discuss Peyton Manning's future with the franchise. Since then, of course, the headlines have been dominated by comments made by both parties and people associated with them.

Let's revisit who said what and when.

Monday

On the same day Irsay insisted he and Manning "want to focus on the Super Bowl," Peyton's brother, Cooper, and father, Archie, said they believe Manning will do whatever he can to play again after his third neck surgery.

"Where, when and how he'll play, that's all up in the air," Cooper told NFL Network's Albert Breer. "But as far as his body goes, Peyton's smart, he'll know what to do. Anyone predicting what will happen now going forward is just wasting their breath."

Tuesday

Manning made a surprise appearance at the Super Bowl media center and reiterated that he's committed to continuing his career.

"My plan hasn't changed," Manning said. "I'm on track with what the doctors have told me to do, and I'm doing that. I'm rehabbing hard."

He dismissed the idea that his retirement is imminent, saying, "I have no plans on doing that."

Manning told ESPN in a separate interview that he and Irsay would meet soon.

"We will (talk) at the appropriate time, and some decisions will be made after that," he said. "... It will happen soon."

Wednesday

Irsay joined Rich Eisen on NFL Network's "Super Bowl Live" and painted a picture of a complicated situation concerning Manning.

"This isn't about the money," Irsay said of Manning, who's due a $28 million roster bonus March 8. "If it helps us win, I'll pay it in a second. But when it comes to salary cap ... we have real cap problems. You can't make a decision that straps you for the next three seasons.

"If we make a decision based on just affection, and we have cap problems for three years, the fans will call me an idiot."

Irsay said he's not pulling a cloak-and-dagger move.

"People assume that the people know what they're going to do and just aren't telling us," Irsay said. "Often times, you don't know, and take as much time to be thoughtful and make the decision at the last possible moment you can. It's not true that any decision has been made. I wouldn't say it's a certainty that it will go one way or another."

"No one knows what is going to happen."

Thursday

New Colts general manager Ryan Grigson talked to reporters and revealed that he had met with Manning and had a "nice" conversation.

Then the conversation about Manning reached another level.

Manning's surgeon, Dr. Robert Watkins Sr., released a late-night statement that the quarterback has been "medically cleared to play professional football." That led Irsay to respond on Twitter: "Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts. Team statement coming on Friday."

Friday

Appearing on NFL Network's "Super Bowl Live," Manning's agent, Tom Condon, said the quarterback "certainly expects to return to play and he wants to play."

Condon rejected the notion that Manning was flirting with danger by attempting to come back. Condon also said people were saying that Manning "wasn't going to be able to play and it was too dangerous and he was foolish to even think about it, and that's not accurate."

Later that day, the Colts issued the statement that Irsay had promised.

"Peyton Manning, Jim Irsay and the entire Colts family remain close and unified as we continue to work through all the options that relate to his future with the Colts. The present focus is on the Super Bowl and the great game that awaits," read the statement, which included a photo of Manning, Irsay, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and others together at the team's Super Bowl function. "A good time was had by all at the Colts party Thursday night."

The world awaits the next development.

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