Joey Foley/Getty Images
Jim Irsay didn't want to be the bad guy.
Not only at the press conference itself, but all through the months leading up to it, Jim Irsay just seemed like he was being extremely indecisive.
He was the person who was in a bad relationship but didn't know how to tell the other person he didn't want to see them anymore.
That was the months leading up to the announcement.
At the announcement?
He was the guy who uses every cliche he can to try and soften to blow.
"The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field."
Sounds kind of like, "We had some good times, and I'll cherish our memories together."
"This process has been a long and difficult process."
Kind of like, "I've really thought about this a lot lately, and I'm not sure what to do."
"In the end, those circumstances were too difficult to overcome."
Which is reminiscent of, "We've been growing apart."
Jim Irsay needed to come out and say Manning wasn't returning as soon as the season ended. There was never any indication he was coming back, and his silence and refusal to make a decision led to false hope and, eventually, anger from the Colts fans.
Retiring Manning's jersey felt like an apology Irsay thought he had to make.