Irsay: Manning decision ‘isn’t about the money’

Colts owner Jim Irsay is facing some harsh realities when it comes to the future of QB Peyton Manning. Those realities, however, are filled with the uncertainty of the quarterback’s recovery, a situation Irsay has spent much of the last several weeks doing his best to explain.

Irsay joined Rich Eisen on NFL Network’s “Super Bowl Live” on Wednesday, reiterating that the entry point for any conversation involving Manning’s future is the health of the four-time NFL MVP. For weeks, Irsay has said the first decision on Manning is a medical decision.

On that front — as much as Manning says his recovery process is on schedule — Irsay says there is still a great deal of unknown.

“There’s so much uncertainty in this thing,” Irsay said. “The thing that gets overlooked in situations like this, is that there’s never been an NFL quarterback that has had this type of injury. It’s never happened before. When our doctors talk to other doctors, even throughout the world, the reference points just aren’t there. This will be a case study, if it ever happens again, because it’s so rare that you have this situation.

“You try to work through the uncertainty, but that’s been the tough part about this.”

Manning told reporters Tuesday that he intended to sit down with Irsay, who told NFL Network the two would talk after the Super Bowl and even into early March.

That, of course, begs the question of how Irsay will approach another reality in the decision — the $28 million bonus due to Manning on March 8.

“This isn’t about the money,” Irsay said. “If it helps us win, I’ll pay it in a second. But when it comes to salary cap … we have real cap problems. You can’t make a decision that straps you for the next three seasons.

“If we make a decision based on just affection, and we have cap problems for three years, the fans will call me an idiot.”

Irsay then referenced the term “football decision,” noting that Manning understands the circumstances. Based on what’s known, and not known, Irsay was asked if it all adds up to an amicable divorce with Manning.

“People assume that the people know what they’re going to do and just aren’t telling us,” Irsay said. “Often times, you don’t know, and take as much time to be thoughtful and make the decision at the last possible moment you can. It’s not true that any decision has been made. I wouldn’t say it’s a certainty that it will go one way or another.”

It all leaves Irsay to sum it up like this: “No one knows what is going to happen.”

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