Peyton Manning hasn’t exactly disappeared while rehabbing a potentially career-altering injury. To his credit, Manning has been much more open about his progress (or lack thereof) than Tom Brady was when he was in a similar situation in 2008.
But Manning had still been his usual coy self…until now.
Today, Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star landed the ultimate Hoosier State scoop, getting Manning to open up about his future in Indy and what appears to be a transition from one era to another. For those of you too
lazy busy to read the full 1,461-word article, here are the four most interesting things Manning had to say, along with the official GLS reaction to each.
1. On what he feels might happen next:
“But I understand how it works. I understand tough decisions have to be made. There’s personal and there’s business and that’s where we’ve got to separate the two. I’ve seen other guys leave places and it was personal. I’ve invested too much into this city for that to happen. We live here, we’ve given lots of time and money to the community and our church, and that’s never going to change. Nothing changes that.
“Whatever happens, happens. I can’t give you a prediction because Jim (Irsay) and I will sit down at some point and he’ll get a feel for where I am and I’ll get a sense of what direction he wants to go. Right now, I have no idea.”
This gives me a strong feeling — the strongest one I’ve had yet in regard to this situation — that Manning might have already come to terms with the idea that his time in Indy is about to end. I believe that he truly has no idea which way Irsay and Grigson are leaning, but I’m surprised to see how much he’s let up on the whole “one team my whole career” thing. I’m starting to believe that if Manning had to bet on where he’d be in 2012, he wouldn’t put his money on Indy.
2. On who will decide his fate:
“One thing he (Grigson) kind-of, sort-of told me, without really wanting to tell me, was that Irsay will be the guy I’m going to sit down and talk with,” Manning said. “That’s going to happen at some point, but we haven’t had that conversation yet because we really don’t need to have that conversation yet.”
Here’s my problem with this: Why spend millions of dollars on a new general manager if he can’t make these decisions? I understand that the owner’s input is necessary when it comes to making major moves, but you almost get the feeling that Grigson was dodging Manning. That would be much more understandable, considering that Grigson is virtually unknown and is practically Manning’s age. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Irsay becomes more involved in personnel decisions in the post-Polian era.
3. On the state of the franchise after a front-office house-cleaning:
“I’m not in a very good place for healing, let’s say that,” he said, referring to the practice facility. “It’s not a real good environment down there right now, to say the least. Everybody’s walking around on eggshells. I don’t recognize our building right now. There’s such complete and total change.”
This is the quote getting the most attention, but there’s nothing surprising about it. This is what happens when a team coming off a two-win season lets go of pretty much the entire coaching staff, as well as the vice chairman and the general manager. It’ll take time for everyone to get comfortable again, but this is a natural and common process in the professional sports world. Manning has just never had to go through it before. He actually goes on to admit as much, saying: “I guess it’s the reality of the football world, just not something I’ve had to deal with very often.”
4. On being in the facility every day:
“I’m still the quarterback of the Colts. That’s why I’m in the building every day trying to get healthy … I’m in the facility every day. I’m right there. They know where to find me.”
See, this is yet another reason why I wouldn’t cut it as a professional athlete. Manning made $26.4 million despite not playing a game this year and has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in his career. Right now in Indianapolis, it’s like 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The guy could be in Florida or California or Arizona. Hell, he could be training at a world-class personal gym in the Caribbean. And yet he’s in Indy every day, working out despite the fact there’s a chance he never takes a snap as a Colt (or anywhere) again.