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Irsay invokes Manning-Leaf in assessing this year's No. 1 pick

For Colts owner Jim Irsay, the decision regarding the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft is similar to the last time his team held the top spot in 1998.

Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III? Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf? The situation feels the same to Irsay.

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"With Griffin and Luck and the way it's shaping up at the top of the draft -- could very likely go one and two like with Peyton and Ryan Leaf," Irsay said in an ESPN interview. " ... It's most likely one of those quarterbacks that you really feel is the best player in the draft and, where we're at moving forward, that you can't pass that up. I don't think anyone would expect that."

Does a healthy Peyton Manning change anything?

"I don't think it would," Irsay said. "I think we've identified even before this year that you have your eye open for that quarterback that could eventually replace Peyton."

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, if there was any lingering doubt, it's nearly a lead pipe lock the Colts will select either Luck or Griffin in April.

Now, about that comparison to the Manning-Leaf situation in '98. The Colts avoided an epic disaster in selecting Manning over Leaf, who might be the biggest bust in draft history. And the team would be wise to repeat history -- not to insinuate Luck or Griffin is the next Ryan Leaf, but you get the point.

On a side note, Irsay also touched on the firestorm created by Rob Lowe earlier this week when he tweeted that he'd heard Manning was ready to retire.

"I don't know what Rob was thinking or who he had talked to or anything like that," Irsay said. "He's a friend, but I mean, it's like we probably haven't talked for a couple months -- a friend like that who's out there doing his thing. He'll come to a game sometimes and that sort of thing. We're not where we talk every week or something like that. When I had heard about it, I was surprised."

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