Manning’s motives remain unclear

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.

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