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Irsay: Manning welcome back to Colts but on restructured deal

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Jim Irsay put the ball squarely in Peyton Manning's court.

The Colts owner told The Indianapolis Star on Tuesday that whether or not Manning returns to the team is up to the four-time NFL MVP.

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But there is a caveat. Irsay indicated it would take a restructured contract that reflects the uncertainty of the quarterback's recovery from three neck surgeries for Manning to retire a Colt.

"We can make it work if he wants to be here," Irsay said. "We'd be excited to have him back and finish his career with us.

"I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the ... healing process with the regeneration of the nerve."

Irsay expects to meet with Manning in the next seven days. And while the owner repeatedly has said the primary concern is Manning's medical status and the uncertainty surrounding whether or not he can even play again, there's also a critical financial consideration for the rebuilding Colts.

Manning is due a $28 million option bonus March 8. According to The Star, that bonus activates the final four seasons of the five-year, $90 million contract Manning signed last offseason.

Manning, who missed the entire 2011 season and will turn 36 next month, has maintained his recovery process is on schedule despite lingering questions over his ability to throw the football.

Irsay, keenly aware of his potential position as the owner who let Manning leave, is making it known he's not pushing the quarterback out the door. Manning is welcomed back -- but at the right price.

"There's no question it can be worked out if he wants to be here," Irsay added. "It can work if he wants to come back and can get back to being the old Peyton."

The Colts went 2-14 last season without Manning, who started every game in his first 13 NFL seasons. The league-worst record gave Indianapolis the No. 1 overall draft pick, which the team is expected to use on a quarterback to eventually replace Manning, who guided the Colts to a Super Bowl title in the 2006 season.

Also Tuesday, the Colts completed their coaching staff by hiring eight assistants and making former offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen their quarterbacks coach. First-year coach Chuck Pagano already hired Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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