Sports

Public comments irk Colts’ Jim Irsay

Pat McMahon Contributor
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts are a long, long way from being healed.

Two days after Peyton Manning publicly complained about the dour atmosphere at team headquarters following a 2-14 season and a rash of firings, Colts owner Jim Irsay introduced his new head coach and then stunned everyone by calling his franchise player a “politician” who had decided to air dirty laundry.

“I don’t think it’s in the best interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light, I really don’t,” Irsay told reporters, referring to the team’s longtime logo. “The horseshoe always comes first, and I think one thing he’s always known, because he’s been around it so long, is that, you know, 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.”

The comments suggest there is a rift between Manning and Irsay, who is just six weeks from a deadline to pay the four-time league MVP a $28 million bonus or risk losing him as a free agent. And it all blew up in public on a day the team desperately wanted attention focused on Chuck Pagano, the Ravens’ defensive coordinator who takes over as head coach with a host of problems to address.

The biggest question mark is Manning, the face of the franchise and the primary reason for its run of success over the past decade. He is clearly upset with the fallout of the Colts’ dismal season in which he never played a down after Sept. 8 neck surgery — his third such procedure in a span of 19 months.

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