Blog Entry

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:57 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 7:25 pm
'There’s no question it can be worked out if [Peyton] wants to be here.' - owner Jim Irsay (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

By all accounts, Indianapolis' first Super Bowl was a resounding success. From all the things the host committee could control (hotels, media, fans, transportation), to even those it couldn't (the weather), it was a seamless process that made last year's Super Bowl in Dallas seem more like Thunderdome.

If there was one blemish -- albeit a tiny one -- it was the after-school-special-style drama that played out between Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and team owner Jim Irsay. Whether the leaks about Manning's health were planned or not (we think they were), the fact remains: Peyton's neck injury is serious enough to raise questions about his future in Indy, and it's to the point where just about everybody figures he'll be playing elsewhere in 2012 (or whenever he's healthy).

Manning's Offseason Saga
Except that Irsay now seems amenable to keeping Peyton in Indy. (Seriously, we're almost at the point where Manning and the Colts are like that insane couple you know who break up every few months in a spectacularly public spectacle only to get back together days later to try to make it work. And because they really, really love each other.)

“We can make it work if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay told the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell Tuesday. “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.’’

Manning, 35, missed the 2011 season while he recovered from multiple neck surgeries. The Colts went 2-14, Irsay subsequently cleaned house, and now, with a new front office, coaching staff and the first overall pick, looks to rebuild a franchise that Peyton led to one championship, 11 playoff appearances, eight 12-plus-win seasons, and a 141-67 record.

“There’s no question it can be worked out if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay, who has concerns over Manning’s long-term health, told the Star. “It can work if he wants to come back and can get back to being the old Peyton.’’

Of course, this won't preclude the Colts from taking a quarterback with that top pick. And it also means that Manning, should he want to stay, won't be in line for the $28 million bonus that's due March 8. Irsay expects to meet with Peyton in the next week, and as Chappell notes, the $28 million bonus activates the final four years and $90 million of his current contract.

In light of Irsay's comments, here are Manning's choices: a) don't budge off the $28 million and expect the Colts to release him (there will be plenty of interest in Manning's services in free agency, no matter his current health status), or b) rework his contract and stay with the Colts where he'll most likely serve as a mentor to Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.

It still seems like a long shot that Manning would return to the Colts, primarily because if he thinks he can play at a high level for 2-3 more years, he won't get that opportunity in Indy if the new franchise quarterback is standing over his shoulder.

The Star's Bob Kravitz guesses that Manning won't "be thrilled" when the owner and the quarterback eventually talk because any scenario that includes Peyton and the Colts in the same sentence will also mean that he'll have to take a hefty paycut to stay in town.

"The franchise looks good here either way," Kravitz wrote Tuesday night. "If he leaves, then the Colts can say, 'Well, it’s on Peyton. That was his choice.’' If he returns, it’s going to be on the Colts’ terms, and while Manning comes off as the ultimate hero, the Colts and Irsay get some of that reflected glory."

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Since: Feb 15, 2012
Posted on: February 15, 2012 5:40 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Heck, they don't even put Indianapolis on the scored board at M&T.

Since: Feb 15, 2012
Posted on: February 15, 2012 5:38 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Ravens98, I have to respect you and what you said. I moved to the region from Indy and all hear is "you took our team wine wine wine" (see the post I directed my comment to) you are one of the few people that has put that behind you and loves what you have. All I heard this past season from Raven's fans was how they wanted to go to Indy and win the SuperBowl to serve justice on the people of Indianapolis. Remember when the Colts beat the Raven's on the way to their SuperBowl win? EVERYTHING around town was directed on getting revenge on the Colts. (Playoff game was in BMore) Problem is, alot of the fans are not like you or they weren't even around when the Colts where there but they continue to make an issue out of it. 

Since: Feb 15, 2012
Posted on: February 15, 2012 5:31 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Petyon's backloaded contract also helped him by giving them the flexibility to try to put as decent a supporting cast as possible around him. So he wasn't "taking a hit for the team" . As good as he is , he couldn't do it all himself, just go ask Gisselle or whatever her name is. He did get the richest contract of all time don't forget, so i don't think he would have rather had another 10 or 20 mil if it meant he would have had a bunch of total losers to work with. I don't think he would be taking a "hit for the team" to re-do his contract either if he really wants to stay in Indy. He really has no idea at the moment if he will be able to play well enough again to be worth back-up pay as far as actual performance on the field goes. That being said,his value as a clipboard holder/mentor would be worth more than a lot of QBs who start i would wager. I'm sure he really believes that he'll be back as good as ever, that's the mindset he has to have. If he's just trying to get a big paycheck knowing he can't play at a high level again then he's either not nearly the upstanding person the public thinks he is or he's certainly not as smart as presented. He's made a couple of tons of money already, more last year for doing nothing than probably 20 of most of us will in our lives. I see nothing wrong with asking him taking a reasonable incentive type contract. That would prove that he really believes he will be able to earn it. I would love to see that & i'm not a Colts fan, most football fans other than the the other 3 teams in the AFC South would love to see that. I don't think we'll see that this year anyway.Who knows? With all these reports out today , he may be forced to hang it up.

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:31 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

you know, the colts are  crummy team. manning should think about playing for a good team that needs a qb.

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:06 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Mr. Irsay is obviously getting a lot of advice from some public relations professionals. It doesn't matter what you really mean or want, it's more about positioning yourself with the public. His saying, "If Peyton really loves Indy, he'll stay for less money, if he leaves I did all I could do and it was his choice. I guess he really didn't love Indy as much as he said." Of course, Peyton has his own PR people who will respond in kind. None of this is likely remotely close to the conversations ongoing between the two. This is just for public consumption so the media will create fervor to keep this story alive and the Colts relevant during the off-season.

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:38 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

If Irsay wants Peyton back he can pay him his 28 million dollar bonus and activate the final 4 years of his contract.  If I'm Peyton I tell him we've already got a deal in place no need to change anything chief.  Why would he to come back unless the Colt's do some major upgrading in the running game and defense? 

Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:03 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

     devlinindy, you are correct about the situation with the Cots but you forget the O's used to get over 3 million fans for years in the 90's.  Yes, attendance is down now  but 15 straight losing seasons have a lot to do with that.  And while we are talking about teams and moves, I saw a special on Reggie Miller that showed where the Pacers were ready to leave town at one point in the late 70's due to poor fan support.  

     Bob Irsay was a drunken horse's ass who was unhappy with being in Baltimore from the time he and Carroll Rosenbloom swapped franchises.  I loved the old Colts but when Irsay took off in the middle of the night, I said "good riddance" and cheered for the Redskins until the Ravens came to town.  This is one old B-more fan that doesn't miss the Colts in the least- it meant we no longer had to deal with Bob Irsay when they left.    

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:50 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Irsay is a jackwad but he played this the only way he could. You can't pay Peyton 28 mil when it's uncertain if he will ever be productive again. Not on a 2-14 team with the #1 pick. Manning leaving is a foregone conclusion. They way each side handles the aftermath is going to be interesting.  

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:41 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

There's a bunch of idiots on this site... Do you not read the article before you post? Its flat out telling you if they cant re-do his contract they cant keep him (PJKT) SO ALL OF THE 45 MILLION YOUR TALKING ABOUT DOESNT MEAN ANYTHING! Please read before you post something!!!!

Since: Dec 17, 2011
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:28 pm

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Well, now look who is the politician now Mr. Irsay. Skillfully moving the spotlight and blame from himself onto Mr. Manning. Well done.

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