Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay continued to defend himself Wednesday for comments he made regarding the Peyton Manning era for his football team.
In an USA Today interview Tuesday, Irsay intimated
the Colts' decision to transition to Andrew Luck two years ago, which meant not paying Manning a $28 million roster bonus and allowing him to become a free agent, was performance-based.
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"We've changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these," Irsay told USA Today, showing his Super Bowl ring. "(Tom) Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these. Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated. You make the playoffs 11 times, and you're out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the 'Star Wars' numbers from Peyton and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne). Mostly, you love [the ring]."
Numerous people from current Denver Broncos coach John Fox to former Colts general manager Bill Polian and former coach Tony Dungy, who coached to the Colts to a 2007 Super Bowl win, chided Irsay.
"I really don't know what to make of it to tell you the truth," Polian told SiriusXM NFL Radio
on Wednesday. "I do know that he was very upset after the loss in the second Super Bowl [to the New Orleans Saints in 2010] and I think it's pretty telling that getting to the Super Bowl in his mind doesn't count. And for anyone who is in the game and who has to make that journey from training camp to the Super Bowl, you know that it's awfully difficult to get there."
Manning left Indianapolis after missing the 2011 season with a neck injury. He signed with the Denver Broncos and has rejuvenated his career. He leads the league with 2,179 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes.
He'll return to Indianapolis this week for a Sunday night game against the Colts.
Dungy told ESPN that Irsay made it "personal,"
and suggested Irsay was trying to provoke the franchise quarterback.
"I think that's what he's trying to do," Dungy told ESPN in a text message. "Have him make it such a big game he doesn't perform well. I can't figure any other reason to go this way."
Irsay took to Twitter to defend what he said.
Irsay also tweeted and blamed the media for having "negative agendas."
Asked to comment on his relationship with Irsay during a Wednesday conference call with reporters, Manning said, "I can't and won't."
He'll likely let his touchdown-producing right arm do the talking on Sunday.
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