Protecting the Horseshoe

An NFL Blog with an Indianapolis Colts Focus

Colts Release Peyton Manning

The end has officially arrived. It was a pretty sad scene really. I feel for Jim Irsay, and I especially feel for Peyton Manning. On a larger scale, it’s an awakening for me as a sports fan. If this can happen to Peyton Manning it can happen to any player in sports.

In terms of being an NFL fan and following that shield my entire life, this is one of the paramount moments you just don’t forget. I’ll always remember the day the Colts and Peyton Manning broke up. Like in all the classic Mafia movies, Manning was the last to get whacked in this one as all the old boys who had gone before him.

In terms of how huge this was, even CNN televised the press conference. I got a text from my wife during lunch hour saying that she was watching it from the student center of her university. Everyone knows about this. When I leave the parking lot at work tonight, I’ll have to pick between ESPN and local Indianapolis 1260 WNDE because the coverage will be everywhere until we go to sleep tonight.

There will be plenty of time to talk about the Colts, and Andrew Luck (the most important part of the rebuild), who the Colts will draft, Chuck Pagano, Ryan Grigson and the new band that is getting ready to set up shop on stage. But today is about Peyton Manning. It’s about an icon, and a door closing today.

As a football fan, just remember you will always be able to stay within the warmth of all the memories.


March 7, 2012 Posted by | Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning | Leave a comment

Peyton Manning Era Comes to an End

After 14 years and 4,682 pass completions, the Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis is over with.

Here’s a video from the airport in Indianapolis tonight, where the Colts owner and former QB landed in anticipation for their noon press conference tomorrow:

Full reaction coming, as the boys said; tomorrow.

If you want a primer, here’s Bob Kravitz’s take at the Indy Star. He will never cover a bigger story.

March 7, 2012 Posted by | Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning | Leave a comment

The Peyton Manning YouTube Workout Video

Above is the video of Peyton Manning making four throws that was clearly put out by Manning Camp early this morning. In actuality, it was between the 1:00 and 2:00 AM hour last night. At the :06 mark, you’ve got “what a ball”. That tips me off that this video was put out by Peyton Manning’s group (along with the fact that Chris Mortensen broke the story). But what was the reason?

He obviously wants to show that he is healthy. That he can still play. But what about his status with the Colts? Is he trying to show the Colts organization he can still play so they’ll pick up the option? After all, Jim Irsay did say that if #18 is healthy he’ll be a Colt.

Everywhere else, people are saying it’s a matter of when and where until Manning moves on.

Thursday the wait should be over. That’s March 8th. But I wouldn’t discount the possibility of Jim Irsay and Peyton delaying things and making us wait a while longer. It just doesn’t feel like an answer is coming Thursday, does it?

March 3, 2012 Posted by | Chris Mortensen, Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning | Leave a comment

Silver: Irsay plans to move on from Peyton Manning, forward with Andrew Luck

Another day at the NFL combine, another big piece of news regarding the big situation in Indianapolis.

This time it’s from Yahoo! Sports Michael Silver.

I’ve been waiting for Silver to weigh in on this with his summary of events–deciding that I was going to go with whatever position Silver presented. He’s mad ea career of being a solid and accurate reporter. When Silver writes something, you can take it to the bank. He’s like a Jay Glazer in that respect. While he leaves the door open slightly for a Manning return to Indianapolis, unless “something dramatic and unexpected” happens, Manning will be released in the next few days.

And for those who think that Robert Griffin III’s insane 40-yard dash time of 4.41 will sway Indianapolis’ front office to look at takind the Baylor Quarterback with the first overall selection, Silver offers this valuable nugget.

As one Colts source said earlier this week, “Luck is The Guy. I don’t care what happens [at the combine]. I don’t care if Griffin flies.”

Silver also makes some really key points that haven’t really been brought to light yet. If Irsay allows Manning to remain in the organization, he’s not really allowing his new hires in Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson a full opportunity at success. Silver also talks about the situations leading up to the new coach and General Manager–the firing of Bill Polian, Jim Caldwell, and the head trainer that was helping with Manning’s rehabilitation. 

With each passing day, more and more reputable folks are staking their claim to the idea that a divorce is coming between the Colts and Peyton Manning. If it happens we’ll be here to react to anything and everything that shakes out. Some gigantic news is coming the way of this Colts organization as soon as the owner can get his bearings straight and decide to start building around the future of the organization.

That most valuable building block ran a 4.59 40-yard dash this morning at the combine. Get him some weapons and reload.

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Andrew Luck, Jim Irsay, Michael Silver, Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III | 1 Comment

It’s Combine Time

I spent about four hours today watching the NFL Combine on the NFL Network. It’s the first time I’ve devoted much time to the event, and I have to say that it’s great. It makes for a more educated NFL fan. It’s the primer; the meat and potatoes of the game I crave more of. In fact as I write this post, I’ve got the replay of Mike Mayock, Rich Eisen and company replaying and I probably will until I pass out.

The combine is a rite of passage for any fan claiming to be a die hard. It’s flow-over-the-top analysis and more football than anyone really needs. And yet that’s why it’s so great. The combine gives you a chance to get to know an NFL prospect from the very beginning even if you only got to see a guy play once or twice in his four years in college. Or not at all. It’s the chance to know a guy from seed to sprout to fully grown stage. And if you think there’s no difference between a guy like Stanford guard David Decastro and Utah tackle John Cullen, watch the combine. You’ll see who is an athlete and who just isn’t a ‘natural bender’ as Mayock said. I am absolutely hooked.

Tie in all the stuff that’s going on with the Quarterback, the Owner, and the prospect of a lifetime; and we’ve got a real storyline on our hands unfolding in the city that hosts the combine.

The biggest piece of news that worked it’s way out today–and you knew something would–is that due to the new CBA in place the Colts organization would not be permitted to see Peyton Manning throw before making any type of decision on him. That said, it’s my belief that the Colts have already made the decision regardless and Peyton knows the decision.

Now why would those be on clearance?

Here’s some other interesting pieces of note from the day:

-Todd McShay says Andrew Luck over RG3 and it’s not even close. [ESPN]
-Indy wants, and should get another Superbowl soon. [PFT]
-Teammates talk about Andrew Luck. [Stampede Blue]

I think I’m going to wake up nice and early tomorrow and get some coffee and watch the QB’s, receivers, and running backs at the combine starting at 9 am.

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Andrew Luck, David Decastro, Jim Irsay, NFL Combine, NFL Network, Peyton Manning | Leave a comment

Eye Opening Irsay Quotes

Everyone knows of the big news from yesterday. But a deeper look at some of the things Jim Irsay said (in this case, in an SI article by Don Banks) gives an indication of where this is all headed.

“He may not ever be able to play again,” Irsay said. “We just don’t know that yet. It’s a question of whether his arm comes back, and the nerve regeneration occurs. It’s always been an issue about his long-term health after football, that’s the big issue. And then there are salary cap consequences that have to be dealt with as part of his return. But it’s going to be his call whether he stays.

You don’t know that? Peyton would probably not like you saying that. You’ve seen the man throw. You were reportedly ‘pleased’ at the way he threw. If you’re doubting that he can ever play again then this should be a relatively simple conversation and no one should fault you for the tough business decision you must make.

“If he can get healthy and he wants to take the risk of playing, I’d rather see him be here and play for us this year. It can be worked out. If he can get back to the point of being the old Peyton Manning, he can play for us this season and handle it better than a rookie quarterback would be able to handle it.”

So, just this season or what? Isn’t this really just pushing out the real problem at hand one more year? That is unless, you think Peyton will retire in a season. Otherwise, what are you going to do? Sit Andrew Luck for a second year? Release Peyton before next year? The mention of the ‘this season’ shows that Manning is likely not desired beyond this season.

And how do you feel about him taking the ‘risk’ of playing? Don’t you want him to take the risk? Because it sounds like you would not be too unhappy if he didn’t.

“But if he can play, he could do that for us this season and then he’d have the choice of whether to retire, with his number retired, the statue built and the whole thing. If he’s healthy, he’d handle 2012 better than Andrew could. But ultimately I have always wanted him to make the decision, with us having pointed out the risk and the stress he’s putting his neck under by playing. The biggest aspect is I want him to be comfortable with his decision.”

And there it is. The ‘AHA’ quote of the entire article. You’re taking ‘Andrew’, aren’t you. You finally said it. Perfect world, Peyton comes in and mentors Luck for a season on your terms and you’re not the bad guy. And from there you have to do what you have to do, really.

“That’s the last he’d want to do for this team, put us in that kind of salary cap situation,” Irsay said. “He wants to come back and he wants to win. I should say I assume he wants to come back. With Peyton, sometimes you never know. But that’s why we’re going to have a meeting in a few days. I think he has some real comfort in the idea of finishing his career here, but I think he’s conflicted perhaps given the circumstances. We’ll find out soon.”

You probably should have found out man to man before this was any type of story. The fact that you didn’t is pretty telling, at least I think. With Peyton, sometimes you never know. After all, he is a politician.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Andrew Luck, Don Banks, Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning, Sports Illustrated | Leave a comment

Irsay-Peyton Meeting Could Be This Week

File this under the ‘I’ll believe it when I see it category’, but NFL Insider Mike Freeman from CBS Sports says that a league source has speculated the most anticipated meeting in modern Indianapolis Colts sports history could be this week.

One league source said the two might finally have a sit-down this week to talk. That’s not definite but it seems likely. One thing that’s become clear is the two men don’t want another circus. Both sides don’t want to meet, I’m told, the week of the combine and thus have Manning news dominate the way it did Super Bowl week.

It remains possible the two men wait until after the combine but the feeling seems to be they want to get the meeting over with sooner than later. It’s highly likely they meet in secret and no one finds out until afterwards.

I agree with that last part. No one is going to break this story. Which is why whatever insider told Freeman that the meeting was going down this week was likely just guessing, and if he’s right he’ll have been lucky guessing.

We’ll hear something when something gets done. The closer it gets to March 8th, the more chance I would think that Manning remains a Colt. If he weren’t going to work something out with Indianapolis, I would think that he would push for a resolve to be as quick as possible.

The other interesting note is that neither side wants a media circus, so they’re keeping it away from the NFL Combine. Are you kidding me? Whenever this goes down it’s going to be like Defcon One. The media will flock, and it will be all that is talked about and reported about for a week. It’s silly to think otherwise.

The last statement made by Freeman is one that I don’t know to be necessarily true.

My guess — everyone in football’s guess — is that the two men will basically say their goodbyes. No one, and I mean no one, expects Manning back. Stranger things have happened but it appears almost certain the meeting is the first step in the departure of Manning from the Colts.

We shall see.

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning | Leave a comment

RUMOR: Peyton Manning would like to play for Texans

According to Bob Allen of ABC 13 out of Houston, someone who is close friends with the Manning family says that ‘Peyton Manning is definitely interested in possibly coming to the Texans’.

Really sounds like there are a lot of certainties doesn’t it.

Someone I know who is close friends with the Manning family says Peyton is definitely interested in possibly coming to the Texans. Peyton will be released by the Colts early next month and will be a free agent. The person who knows the Mannings says Peyton wants to play on a team that has a chance of going to a Super Bowl, and the Texans fit that description.

Another big plus is that the Texans are in the Colts division. Manning not only knows the division, but I’m told the relationship between him and Colts owner Robert Irsay now is strictly business. And don’t underplay the competitiveness between Peyton and Eli — it “does” matter that Eli has two Super Bowl rings to his one.

Give this post the old grain of salt treatment until there is something to build off of this. The biggest thing to take from this is unless Bob Allen’s source (and a close friend of the Manning family) is completely lying to him, it’s a foregone conclusion that: 1) Manning will be released in March, and 2) Manning is already thinking about his next stop.

Also interesting is that the relationship between ‘Bob Irsay’ and Manning is now just strictly business. We have to assume that Allen meant Jim. Let’s hope he’s not making a mistake that his father Bob made so many years ago by allowing John Elway to end up in Denver.

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Houston Texans, Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning | Leave a comment

Adam Schefter: Irsay/Manning Meeting Could Come Next Week

Heard Adam Schefter on ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning this morning. Here’s a recap:

-He made a few calls yesterday, although things are quiet right now the general feeling is that the meeting between Irsay and Peyton will most likely come next week. The feeling right now is kind of like a longtime couple, they just don’t want to “break up”. As silly as it sounds, that’s what he said.

-Said that something would have happened sooner if the Super Bowl had not been in their city. Something will have to happen by the time the combine rolls around in 2 weeks because that is once again in their city and they’ll want resolution before there are more media types swarming them again. (Although personally, what do these guys care?)

-Again Schefter alluded to the fact that Manning is open to structuring his contract in a way that would allow any new team that signs him to assume little risk. (My thought here, is WHY won’t someone including Mike & Mike ask the question ‘would Peyton do this option for the Colts’)

-Schefter basically said that the Colts are moving on. It’s not that they can’t decide to go with Peyton and Luck this next season; it’s that it doesn’t make sense. You select a QB #1 overall, that player needs all the playing time and all the reps he can get. At that point, Schefter adds, what could Luck possibly ‘learn’ from Peyton Manning from sitting on the bench?

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Adam Schefter, Andrew Luck, ESPN, Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning | Leave a comment

Irsay Tweet: Peyton Hasn’t Passed Our Physical

For the first time I actually realize that Peyton Manning maybe isn’t coming back to the Indianapolis Colts.

A Jim Irsay tweet that came around 2:00 AM was the latest in what is shaping up to be a public relations chess match.

This is obviously a response to the word out of Peyton Manning camp that Peyton had been cleared to resume his NFL career by two doctors. That news surfaced yesterday just after the 5:00 hour when I was hopping on a treadmill.

More analysis, commentary and reaction are coming today. I think we should all get a few more hours of shut-eye and wait for that Colts team statement.

February 3, 2012 Posted by | Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning | Leave a comment