Sharpe: Colts need to move on from Manning

Hall of Fame TE Shannon Sharpe (right) visited the NFL Network set Monday. (Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning is dominating Super Bowl week in Indianapolis, and he’ll probably continue to do so, regardless of Colts owner Jim Irsay‘s attempts to quiet talk about the QB’s future.

Colts fans equipped with blue or white No. 18 jerseys pack the downtown streets and restaurants, and any conversation that doesn’t involve the Giants or the Patriots inevitably turns to Manning.

Hall of Fame TE Shannon Sharpe, who’s never been shy about weighing in on various topics, said Monday that Irsay must assess Manning’s situation from a long-range vantage point, equating the Colts’ predicament to the one John Elway faces in Denver with Tim Tebow.

“You talk about two of the most polarizing men that’s playing in the NFL today,” Sharpe said. “Peyton Manning, arguably one of the top 10 quarterbacks to ever play the game whether he throws another pass or not, and then you get Tim Tebow with his almost cult-like following. To move into a different direction (without) these two men is not going to be popular. But at the end of the day, you must do what you think is in the best interest of your ballclub long term.”

Sharpe said Manning’s questionable health after three neck surgeries makes his situation different from Tebow, whom he just doesn’t place at a championship level. The Colts’ organizational overhaul is enough proof for Sharpe that they’re attempting to start fresh with a new QB and a new plan — much like they did in 1998 when they drafted Manning No. 1 overall.

“(Manning) said, ‘Everybody that I know is gone now,’ ” Sharpe said. “So I think that was his first indication that he’s not going back to Indy. …

“I’m sure you’d be hurt. But the guy made $150 million. It’s not like they said, ‘Well, Peyton, we’re just moving in another direction.’ We’re not even having this discussion if he’s not hurt. But he’s hurt.”

–David Ely

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