So if Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay wanted Peyton Manning to stay with the team, what happened? Why couldn't a new deal be reached? Why not a compromise of some kind?
“This process has been a long, difficult process. I know Peyton and I have had numerous conversations over the months, and we always kept trying to come back to the circumstances that were before us. We tried to put each other in each other’s shoes, and tried to realize what the situation was for the franchise and what it was for Peyton,” the Colts owner explained.
“In the end, those circumstances were too difficult to overcome. Circumstances that dictated to us, to the franchise, that really were unavoidable. It is something where, as we are going forward, being a rebuilding team with salary cap problems and Peyton is on the mend, to try to resume his career, we both wanted to be together. It has been very difficult and just tearing at our hearts to try and look at the situation and find the best solution.”
Neither side pointed fingers.
“I think Peyton has been completely unselfish in terms of looking at (where) the franchise was at, and where we are at in this point. I tried to put myself in Peyton’s situation as well. In the end, before we ever got into any specifics, it has never been about money. It’s never been about those type of things,” Irsay said.
Manning added that he had plenty of talks with the Colts owner.
“We’ve covered all sorts of scenarios, and like he said, these circumstances, they are not the way either of us wished they were. But that is the reality, and that is kind of how it got to this point. So I don’t necessarily think there was a decisive point. It was just good healthy talks, fun talks in person, over the phone and long talks. That is kind of how we got here,” he voiced.
• Peyton moving forward – The now former Indianapolis quarterback is ready to see what the future holds, whether he'll be signing with one of a handful of teams. Miami, Arizona, Seattle, Kansas City, Washington and the New York Jets figure to be among his most ardent suitors.
“I am confident. I don’t know what these next steps are, this is all kind of new to me. [Indianapolis] is the only team I’ve ever known, and I’ve always known what the month of March is for an offseason getting ready to go play for the Colts the next season. This is kind of uncharted territory for me, so we’ll see how all that plays out,” Manning said.
He added, though, that retirement was not among his immediate plans.
“I don’t want to retire. No, I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. Nobody loves their job more than I do. Nobody loves playing quarterback more than I do. I still want to play. But, there is no other team I wanted to play for,” Manning said. “Nobody has had it better than I have playing for the Indianapolis Colts for these 14 years. I just can’t say how thankful and fortunate I feel to have played here. I love playing quarterback.”
And what about his health? Four medical procedures in 19 months to repair a bulging disk in his neck, coupled with strength issues in his right arm.
“I’m throwing it pretty well. I still have some work to do and some progress to make. I’ve come a long way and I’ve really worked hard. I can’t tell you the hours and the time I’ve put in to working hard. I really enjoy being back out there,” Manning explained.
“To get back out there and throw, and I’ve sure enjoyed that. I’m doing better, I’m going to continue to work hard and hopefully [I’ll] keep making some progress.”
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who has been working out with the quarterback in Miami, told WTHR-TV Wednesday that Manning is getting closer to his MVP form.
“I’ve seen Peyton Manning throw the ball 65 yards [in recent workouts],” Wayne said. “If that ain't strong enough, if he has to throw the ball farther than that, I'm not sure he should play again.
“He's definitely throwing the ball with some whip and some velocity and some depth. He looks good, he looks like the Peyton Manning of old. Looks eager to show everybody he’s back.”
• Colts moving forward – The release of Manning may just be the first shoe to drop when it comes to parting ways with key veteran players.
Wayne, along with fellow wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez, are all unrestricted free agents. Decisions must also be made about the futures of center Jeff Saturday, offensive guards Ryan Diem and Mike Pollak, linebackers Philip Wheeler and Ernie Sims, defensive tackle Eric Foster and tight end Jacob Tamme.
Salary cap issues may also force Indianapolis officials to take a long, hard look at the contracts of tight end Dallas Clark and defensive end Dwight Freeney.
“I just think that as a franchise where we are right now with the salary cap and where we are rebuilding, we are definitely a few years away [from being contenders again],” Irsay said.
“I think with injuries, the erosion of time on the roster and different things and circumstances dictated [going into a rebuilding plan]. I think people lose track of the salary cap and where we are really at there. Just to sign our draft picks, we’re going to have to make more roster moves. It’s a challenge, but I know we’ll continue to work at it as we go through each day.”
Wayne doesn't know what his future holds.
“I’m expecting the worst, the worst being that my time is up [with Indianapolis]. It’s been real. No regrets. No ill will. Just move on, that’s the way it goes,” he said.
Freeney, though, wants to stay with the Colts if at all possible.
“We’ll see what happens. I know I do have one more year left [on his contract] and I plan on playing that out,” the Pro Bowl defensive lineman told NFL Network. “I love Indianapolis. I plan on trying to stay.”
So if Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay wanted Peyton Manning to stay with the team, what happened? Why couldn't a new deal be reached? Why not a compromise of some kind?
Colts not standing pat in looking toward 2013 season
Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has quickly earned a reputation as someone who isn’t afraid to shake things up a bit.
Landry believes he'll acclimate to Colts system
Many Indianapolis fans have questioned why strong safety Laron Landry decided to skip the Colts' OTA workouts, especially since he was joining a new team with a somewhat different defensive system than what he was used to playing with the Jets.
He understands their concerns, but isn’t worried about learning the intricacies Colts’ 3-4 hybrid package.
Colts in harmony with new coordinator Hamilton
With new Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton now running the show, the Colts are in the middle of a metamorphosis from the downfield, big-play system that was utilized by former coordinator Bruce Arians to more of a West Coast scheme that will look to make more use of the short, controlled passing game.
According to Andrew Luck, so far so good.
- Pagano amazed by collection of veterans
Opening Day: Terre Haute Rex host Quincy
In his first season at the helm, first-year Terre Haute Rex manager Ronnie Prettyman is going to be surrounded by men he knows and trusts.
Luck having fun with his first OTAs
A year ago, quarterback Andrew Luck was unable to attend the Indianapolis Colts’ organized team activity practices due to school commitments at Stanford.
Luck, though, went on to have a stellar year for the Colts despite the lack of summer work with the team. Still, in a sense, he is a rookie during this year’s OTA workouts.
“These are my first OTAs. I missed these last year, so I think it’s great. It’s great to get on the field with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff. Obviously, some of us ran some of this stuff [offense] at Stanford [under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton]. But to get out there with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff is good,” Luck said Wednesday as the team wrapped up its first week of on-field voluntary practice sessions.
Colts' coordinators enjoying getting rookies acclimated
While the Indianapolis Colts put their rookies and a handful of second-year players through workouts this weekend at the team’s Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, a pair of first-year coordinators are getting a chance to do some valuable on-field work as well.
Werner, 36 others open Colts’ mini camp
The Indianapolis Colts welcomed 37 players to the start of the team’s rookie mini camp Friday at the West 56th Street headquarters.
Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Werner at top of game
Bjoern Werner was a late comer to football. But after being selected in the first round of the 2013 National Football League draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Werner realizes that he has reached the pinnacle of the sport in a relatively short amount of time.
Colts select pass rusher Werner in first round
The Indianapolis Colts selected Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive lineman can also play left outside linebacker.
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
Direction clear for Colts in 2013 draft
The Indianapolis Colts head into the 2013 NFL Draft with some definite plans.
Colts veteran among those excited to see Luck's growth in 2013-14
Veteran defensive end Cory Redding is a big fan — literally and figuratively — of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Redding, who has become one of the Colts’ lockerroom leaders after just one season with the team, thinks he has some reasonable expectations of Indianapolis’ former No. 1 draft pick.
Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
Colts sign nose tackle
Another day, more player signings for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
With the possible exception of adding a few lesser-priced players, the Indianapolis Colts’ big-time foray into the veteran free-agent marketplace is pretty much done.
Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
After adding five veteran free agent players to the Indianapolis Colts roster on Tuesday, general manager Ryan Grigson plucked two more plums late Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Colts sign five free agents, filling needs at offensive line, cornerback
The Indianapolis Colts were a busy team on the opening day of the National Football League’s veteran free agent market, which got underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
An Indianapolis Colt for life. Pencil in Jeff Saturday for that honor.
The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
The 14-year veteran center in the National Football League put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in-between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — that Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
Former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday will make his retirement from the National Football League official on Thursday.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts GM enjoying time at combine
Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson makes no bones about it. He enjoys watching prospective football players strut their stuff.
Colts keeping eye on large crop of talented linemen in NFL Draft
According to most National Football League draft observers, this year’s crop of prospects is deep with quality offensive and defensive linemen.
Among the offensive line candidates who have been showcasing their talents at the National Football Scouting Combine, which began in earnest Thursday and wraps up on Tuesday, the spotlight has been on the offensive tackles. Offensive left tackles in particular.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection. While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.
The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
Former Pro Bowl selection Freeney won't return to Colts
The news coming out of the Indianapolis Colts headquarters Friday afternoon was not totally unexpected. Team officials have confirmed that two veteran players – former Pro Bowl defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie — will not be returning for the 2013 season.
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