Between the lines, Gibbs was saying Washington or any team that took that gamble would also be hiring a new offensive coordinator named Manning. “Whoever gets him, you’re going to get a great player,” Gibbs added. “But it would be to that team’s advantage to put him in the same offense.”
But before Peyton can move on, he has to deal with the painful fact that his relationship with his only NFL team is coming to an end. In the same way Joe Montana felt he was cast overboard by the 49ers near the end of his career, Peyton at the moment has a right to feel unappreciated by the franchise he made matter.
A pair of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks will square off Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI. Tom Brady and the Patriots look to avenge their loss four years ago to Eli Manning and the Giants. (Feb. 3)
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He still should have waited until Monday to keep reminding everyone.
For a good part of seven days he’s been engaged in a spin war over his future with Colts owner Jim Irsay. It’s a battle for the hearts and minds of central Indiana that feels disturbingly like the battle for the hearts and minds of Green Bay a few years ago.
The quarterback is wounded and his franchise has all but moved on. The owner calls Manning “a politician.” They keep sniping — Manning through leaked media reports and Irsay through social media — over medical clearances by one doctor, non-medical clearances by the team, what it all means for his future.
On it goes. Manning’s agent on Friday guaranteed Peyton would play next season. Tom Condon did not say if his client would have the agility of G.I. Joe with a non-swivel arm or be fused together like Frankenstein.
Instead of red, white and blue confetti cascading down from the stadium’s rafters on Sunday, you half-expect propaganda pamphlets from both camps to hit the field.
Before kickoff Sunday, Eli Manning’s big brother needs to accept a hard truth: Lucas Oil Stadium isn’t Peyton’s place anymore. It’s not fair or right — in pro sports, it hardly ever is — but it’s over.
The best he can do now is search for a new team or retire with the same grace we came to know him by the past two decades. Before any more talk of “nerve regeneration,” Peyton Manning first needs a return to dignity.
For Mike Wise’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.