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: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: February 15, 2012 9:00 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

I agree Stuck. Talk and negotiate in private, behind closed doors. He said "keep it in the family" and then shoots his mouth off on twitter and anyone with a microphone. Just shut up, dolt.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2012 8:54 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Every time Irsay opens his mouth, he becomes more of an ass.  He goes from criticizing Peyton for not "keeping it in house" a few weeks ago and now he is talking to anyone that will listen.  What a blow hard.  I hope Peyton leaves and the Colts stay at the bottom of the NFL for a while.  This guys is a loser.

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2012 8:12 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Does Manning have medical clearance to play?  I keep hearing his arm is getting stronger, but that's not saying much. Maybe he gets his 28mil and mentors for the next couple of years. Maybe then the Colts will hire him on as a coach.

Since: Feb 15, 2012
Posted on: February 15, 2012 7:37 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

GEEEEZ people have you forgotten that Irsay paid him like $20million to not take a snap last year? His $20mil didn't even get him a QB coach...see Painter and Orlovsky.

Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: February 15, 2012 7:35 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

     Manning is gone....Irsay is doing anything he can to cover his ass and look good here.

Since: Mar 16, 2011
Posted on: February 15, 2012 7:34 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

I've read several witty comments on this in here that I like.  When I think of this whole situation though, I always come back to the same thing.  Irsay definitely does not want to be the bad guy here and he'll make every effort to seem like he wants Manning back, even if he really doesn't and his full intentions are to move forward and rebuild.  Nobody wants to be the guy who steered Peyton Manning out of the town he built.  Make no doubt about it, that's Peyton's town.  Not a Pacer, not any governmental body, and they have no MLB team.  There would have been no Super Bowl in Indy without this guys dues.  I would love to see Manning end his career in Indy.  That's the way it should be.  Please tell me there is some sense of loyalty left in the game?  The Favre situation was enough to make me not think about the guy much anymore when great QB's come to mind.  You can't take away what he did in/for Green Bay, but those few years after his departure left a sour taste in my mouth about him.  He should have retired a Packer.  Much like Ward should retire a Steeler if they can't come to an agreement.  It just seems right.  Peyton retiring anything but a Colt would be a major disappointment.  Step up owners. 

Since: Apr 30, 2011
Posted on: February 15, 2012 7:11 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

After we don't pay Peyton his bonus and becomes a free agent, I'd love to resign him for less money than he's worth with a clause that says if he can't play I get my money back. Instead of being a man and cutting him, I'm going to dangle this carrot dipped in 5hit and wave it in his face and say if you want to, take a bite, so that I don't look like the guy who forced the heart and soul of the Colts out of town.....Afterall, it's his choice to leave.....if he wants

Since: Aug 27, 2010
Posted on: February 15, 2012 6:06 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

This is the first time I ever posted, but I am a Peyton fan. This garbage with Irsay saying we want Manning  if he is willing to work with us means one thing. Manning is a lot healthier and stronger then what is being reported. Because if he leaves without Irsay trying to keep him and Manning fails well great move by Irsay. But this reversal by Irsay tells me he sees the health and rehab of Manning and said "Oh SH++". So now I have to make a move to keep Manning but at my terms, since now he sees Manning going and winning games for another team for a song. LOL Always, read between the lines what the so called reporters report. Manning is healthy and will be able to play. If he wasn't close Irsay would have said good bye to PEYTON!

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: February 15, 2012 3:58 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

Of courae, now that the season is over, it's time to push the Manning story as much as possible,   I'm not believing anything reportedly that came out of anyone's mouth in tbis after-school special.  The two parties are either going to make a deal to stay together or break apart.  When they're ready to make an annoucement, we'll know.

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:56 am

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

they have both agreed to some mutual deal you can safely bet, but it does not mean Peyton will be on the field of play.

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