Say what you will about Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, but we can all agree that the dude has no problem whatsoever saying what is on his mind.
Irsay had a lot of things on his mind on Thursday, as he was busy introducing new head coach Chuck Pagano. Inevitably, somebody asked him about the interview Peyton Manning did with the Indianapolis Star this week, and Irsay was honest with that he thought about it.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Irsay said that he thought Manning should have kept his remarks "in the family." He also called Manning a "politician" who is "campaigning" publicly:
I don’t think it’s in a good interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light, I really don’t. He’s such a big part of that and everything else, but the horseshoe always comes first.
I think one thing that he’s always known, because he’s been around it so long, is you keep it in the family. If you’ve got a problem, you talk to each other. It’s not about campaigning or anything like that.
Look through the interview Manning did with the Star, and you'll find that the parts that have Irsay worked up stand out.
The big one is this quote from Manning:
I'm not in a very good place for healing, let's say that. It's not a real good environment down there right now, to say the least. Everybody's walking around on eggshells. I don't recognize our building right now. There's such complete and total change.
The Colts have spent the offseason cleaning house. Vice Chairman Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian were both fired, and so was head coach Jim Caldwell. Manning understands that things are going to be a little different in Colt-land going forward, but he said he's not sure he's going to be around to be a part of it.
"I may be behind them," he said. "Who knows?"
Should Manning have come out and said these things?
The short answer is no. He may feel uncomfortable about what's going to happen to him in Indy, but he should have kept his mouth shut. It's obvious now that he's frustrated with what's going on, but venting is never a good idea, especially when there are newspapermen involved.
Should Irsay have called Manning out? The answer is no there too. He had every right to, but this is a situation in which two wrongs don't make a right. It's clear that he's frustrated with what Manning had to say, but as the team's owner, he has a responsibility to limit the damage. He's cleaning house, but he's not keeping his house in order.
Irsay did make a good point, though. Things are pretty crazy in Indianapolis these days, but Manning going public with his gripes helps nobody. If he had something to say about what's going on, he should have said it behind closed doors.
Hours after Irsay made his comments, Manning talked to the Star and indicated that he will indeed bring this little tiff back behind closed doors:
At this point, Mr. Irsay and I owe it to each other and to the fans of the organization to handle this appropriately and professionally, and I think we will. I've already reached out to Mr. Irsay. I wasn't trying to paint the Colts in a bad light, but it's tough when so many people you've known for so long are suddenly leaving. I feel very close to a lot of these guys and we've done great things together. It's hard to watch an old friend clean out his office. That's all I was trying to say.
I just want to keep rehabbing and working hard, and when the time is right for Mr. Irsay and I to sit down, I look forward to a healthy conversation about my future. I've worked too hard and have such great respect and have so many great relationships inside the building and out, and it's incredibly important that those remain.
After reading Manning's comments, it's apparent that a good, old-fashioned hatchet-burying is in order. He may have lost a lot of friends and colleagues in recent weeks, but he's willing to be civil.
Be that as it may, it's too late now. It's out there that Manning is miffed and it's out there that Irsay is miffed at him for being miffed. The uncomfortable situation in Indy has become a soap opera.
Meanwhile on the countdown, the Colts have about five weeks to decide if they want to pay Manning's $28 million option bonus. If they don't, he will also be a victim of the house-cleaning effort.
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