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Irsay says lines of communication open between Colts, Manning

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay indicated Thursday that contract negotiations between the team and quarterback Peyton Manning have already begun, at least informally.

"We've talked more in recent weeks than we have in most Februarys," Irsay said Thursday night, via WRTV-TV. "Peyton and I have talked and said that we'd like to just come to something that makes sense for both of us."

The four-time MVP, who missed the entire 2011 season while he recovered from surgery on his neck, is due to receive a $28 million bonus on March 8. Many expect the Colts to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in this April's draft, leading most fans to speculate that Manning's days with the franchise are nearing an end.

"We both know everyone has great interest on it," Irsay said, after he was inducted into the Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame. "We'll just keep talking. And certainly by that date we'll come up with something that makes sense for him and for the Colts.

" ... I think we both understand each other's issues. (We're) not delaying it for any intentional reason. It's not only a big decision, but it's a complicated and tough decision."

Irsay downplayed the suggestion that his relationship with Manning has deteriorated amid all the recent back-and-forth in the media.

"If I call him a politician, he asks for one stroke back on the golf course. But now he's given me one because I thought he was acting like a jerk before," Irsay said.

"(Peyton) and I will continue to always be great friends, and I hope it's with him still being in a Colt uniform," Irsay added. "But we'll see."

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