Nice flip of the script, Jim Irsay.
Many believed he was ready to part ways with Manning and begin a new chapter in Colts history with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
We were all bracing for No. 18 to be almost awkwardly released from the Colts to test the free agent market.
Then, Irsay called Peyton a politician after Manning discussed with the media the wholesale changes within the Colts organization.
Many began painting Irsay as the bad guy, a self-absorbed owner that wasn't treating his most vital player with the respect he deserved after more than a decade of unparalleled success.
He's taking it a step further, and actually seems to have changed his mind on the whole ordeal. Irsay said the following to the Indianapolis Star (via ProFootballTalk):
"We can make it work, if he wants to be here. 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.’’
This all seems to be an attempt to put Manning in a corner, allowing him to decide his own future.
If he does leave and returns to form elsewhere, none of the blame goes to the Colts' owner.
There's a chance Irsay is having second thoughts and is hoping Manning will push back the $28 million he's owed to a later date, thus giving the Colts more time to evaluate his overall health and to get a better idea of the possibility that he can once again play at a high level.
Now, if Manning bolts, he's seen as the bad guy who maybe just wanted out of Indianapolis in the first place.
The Colts can consequently draft Luck and that's it, the Colts-Manning marriage done with the divorce invoked by No. 18, himself.
Or at least it would seem that way.
If he stays, it's likely he'll do so on Irsay's new grounds. Manning could OK the push back of the $28 million deadline, which would be ideal for Indianapolis' front office.
They can still draft Luck and play Manning next season if he gets the big bonus and is ready for NFL action.
Irsay has made a clever, dare I say brilliant, PR and organizational move that allows him to be the winner in just about any outcome.
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