It is starting to get very ugly in Indianapolis.
Two days after Peyton Manning said the Colts' training facility is a depressing place to be around because of all the changes made in recent weeks, team owner Jim Irsay said Manning should have kept his remarks to himself and called the quarterback "a politician."
"Look, I have so much affection and appreciation for Peyton,” Irsay said after new head coach Chuck Pagano, the former Ravens defensive coordinator, was introduced. “We’re family, you know, we always will be and we are.”
Irsay then added, "He's a politician.
“I don’t think it’s in a good interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light, I really don’t,” Irsay said. “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.”
Irsay said a decision on Manning's future will be made in the coming weeks. Manning is due a $28 million team option on March 8. If that payment is not made, Manning becomes an unrestricted free agent.
"There’s not any sort of bad situation around here for healing or anything like that,” Irsay said. “That’s not a correct perspective. Like I said, you keep it in house, your family, you talk to each other if you have problems, and he knows that.
“We’ll work it through and we’ll work it through hand in hand, and we’ll talk and we’ll continue to talk as we get into February and get closer to the league year. That’s kind of where it stands right now.”
Irsay said his decision will be made not only for financial reasons.
“This is about health, about long-term life, about all those sorts of things,” he said. “So that’s a big weight on me.
“It’s my responsibility any time you put a player on the field, that it falls to that situation. I think fans have known that this has been a very tough situation, it’s been very hard on Peyton, very hard on the franchise and very hard on the fans.”
Manning didn't play during the 2011 season after undergoing a third surgical procedure on his neck.