Colts owner Jim Irsay and Manning had some back-and-forth through the media last week, and it’s clear the relationship is deteriorating. The Colts – who hold the first pick in April’s draft and are expected to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck – must decide before March 8 whether to pick up the option on Manning’s contract, which would pay the quarterback a $28 million bonus, or release him.
Manning missed all of the 2011 season while recovering from a pair of neck surgeries, and still is waiting for nerves to regenerate. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reported Sunday that Manning still is struggling to get healthy, and that because of that, it’s more likely that the Colts will release the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
“No. 1, is he going to be released? No. 2, is he going to be healthy? No. 3, at the end of the day, is he willing to come back and play in the NFL. We don’t know those questions,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I think everybody would want Peyton Manning, if he was healthy. You’d be crazy not to want Peyton Manning if he was healthy. Nobody knows now if he’s going to be cleared to play. And if he is cleared to play, wouldn’t the Colts either want him, or [pick up his option] and then try to trade him?”
The Redskins find themselves in dire need of a quarterback and are expected to address the position either through the draft or free agency this offseason.
On Monday, Irsay did his best to divert questions from the uncertainty in his organization to the game his stadium is set to host on Sunday when the Patriots take on the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. That effort did not go over too well, as the AP reported:
Jim Irsay did his own politicking Monday.
Instead of talking about Peyton Manning and the franchise quarterback’s future in Indianapolis, the Colts owner quickly tossed the football to a real politician.
“When I was asked about Peyton, I was going to say why don’t you ask Mitch (Daniels) about his presidential run? Any comments Mitch?” Irsay said drawing laughter as he turned to the Indiana governor.
Irsay’s diversionary tactic didn’t work.
With the Manning-Irsay spat still dominating talk around town, Irsay tried to deflect attention away from this week’s biggest distraction and put the focus squarely back on the Super Bowl matching the New York Giants against the New England Patriots.