Manning's motives remain unclear

July 21, 2011
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I’ve learned several good lessons in life. Some at the hands of editors, some not.

Here’s one I learned from my dad long before I decided to become a journalist; If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

And here’s a lesson I learned from former IBJ managing editor John Ketzenberger; No matter how indignant someone acts in response to a question or a supposition, it doesn’t mean the question is invalid or the supposition is incorrect. Ketzenberger had a way of making his point so you didn't forget such things.

Earlier this week, Tom Condon was just beside himself after being asked about the report that his clients, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, were seeking special treatment in the new collective bargaining agreement. Specifically, sources said that Manning and Brees never wanted to be hit with a one-year franchise tag again.

“What they are doing is endorsing the players’ [bargaining position], not pursuing anything individually,” Condon told The Indianapolis Star this week.

That statement seems to require deeper explanation. But Condon didn’t offer one.

It seems like someone ought to fill in the NFL players whose flag Condon claims Manning is carrying. Several of those players this week called Manning and Brees greedy and self-centered. 

Maybe it was all a big misunderstanding. Who knows?

Well, this is what we do know.

Colts owner Jim Irsay offered to make Manning the richest player in the NFL last season. Irsay said he was confident a long-term deal could get done during the team’s bye-week. Manning, through Condon of course, politely said no thanks. Naturally, Manning said he wanted to concentrate on football, and a contract negotiation would take away from that.

That’s admirable. But I’m not quite sure how his agent’s hammering out a deal with Irsay and Colts President Bill Polian and their attorneys affect Manning’s focus, but I digress.

We know Manning has more money than he could likely spend in five lifetimes, and would be due about $23 million even if the team put the franchise tag on him for the upcoming season.

It’s no secret that long-term deals offer more guaranteed money than one-year deals, even in the case of the relatively lucrative franchise tag.

At 35 years old, you’d have to wonder how much Manning would need to worry about the franchise tag, anyway. At best, he’s got five years left in him, and Irsay has already promised a super-lucrative long-term deal.

But then there’s this: Star sports columnist Bob Kravitz this week broke a story that Manning’s recovery from post-season neck surgery isn’t going as well as most of us—including Manning—would like. He even blamed his slow re-habilitation on the lockout and not being able to work with team doctors.

Hmmm. Maybe Condon is regretting that he didn’t get that long-term deal for Manning six or eight months ago. Maybe Irsay and Polian could be having a change of heart about how long Manning’s new long-term deal should be. I’m guessing they’ll want to see Manning’s medical report before the deal is signed.

It’s true that Jim Irsay, like the rest of the Horseshoe Kingdom, loves Manning. But he also has a business to run.

Waddle, waddle waddle … quack, quack, quack.

  • Manning should be Embarrassing
    Manning didn't do anything during negotiations of the CBA but now when it is just about to be wrapped up, he thinks he deserves some special treatment. Even if he didn't make the request himself, you know his agent didn't make the request without his knowledge.

    Chris Kluwe rules!
    Bill Polian has proven he is a very practical business manager who has made tough personnel choices in the past, i.e. Eddgerrin James. Manning has no more than 3-5 years left in the league, so why not trade him now while he still has a sizeable trade value? If the Colts ride the #18 horse till he falters, they won't be able to get anything for him and will still have to go through the pain (financially and on the field) of rebuilding.

    The long term gain almost always outweighs the short term pain
  • CBA needs to wait until Manning is healthy
    Manning will have a contract shortly and all will be well. No need to worry, Manning will retire as a Colt. In the short term, I hope that Manning does hold things up and prevents the CBA from being signed for another week or so. It has been reported that Manning will be out at least another two weeks as his neck heals. Colts fans should not want NFL teams to enter camp immediately? The Colts have a nucleus of one man, Peyton Manning. If he is not at camp, the other 31 teams will have a leg up on the Colts as they prepare for the season. The Colts are one of the better organizations in the NFL and will have a huge advantage on other teams because of the shortened time period until week 1. As a result, I hope that Manning does get selfish and does what he can to prevent the CBA from being completed until he is ready to return.
    • Ok, I am confused. I heard these reports early in the week, then yesterday several sports outlets including ESPN and WIBC among others stated that Drew and Peyton said those reports were wrong and they would not hold up the CBA.

      So which is true? I
    • a little mis-direction anyone?
      Both are true, Indyman. Manning did try to get the deal, then he denied that he tried to get the deal. The sourcing on the former is a little too strong for most journalists to ignore. But nobody loves a mis-direction play more than Manning.
    • wow
      well said; i could not agree more. Especially the part about Manning retiring as a Colt. No need to worry.
    • Manning

      He won't be under contract after this year. That's why you can't trade him. And once he's signed it will be more than anyone else in the league wants to pay. There's no trade value there.

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