View Photo Gallery: Rob Lowe’s tweet about Peyton Manning missed it by this much...

What was Rob Lowe thinking when he sent that tweet, the one about, you know, Peyton Manning retiring?

Because Lowe is a big fan of the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning and has connections to the team, the player and owner Jim Irsay, it had to be checked out — even as it was spawning Twitter trends.

Archie Manning, Peyton’s father, quickly put the kibosh on the report, telling ESPN’s Chris Mortensen: “Noooo...he ain’t retiring,” Manning said. “I think he would’ve told me.” Agent Tom Condon said the same thing.

Lowe, reached by Rich Eisen of the NFL Network, wasn’t publicly divulging his source, saying only that it was “absolutely not” Irsay. Entertainingly Twitterquacious, Irsay, whose first follow on Twitter was Lowe, is in the midst of rebuilding the Colts and was oddly silent for a while Wednesday, further fueling the fire. “It wasn’t Jim or anyone close to Jim,” Lowe told Eisen. He added that he heard it from “a pretty darn good source.”

Lowe said he merely tweeted as a fan and wanted to “let the professionals see what’s true or not.” Later Wednesday, Irsay responded, sort of, with a tweet-jab about Lowe’s next project.

It seemed extraordinarily unlikely from the outset. For one thing, Irsay and General Manager Ryan Grigson had said only Tuesday, at a press conference in which they discussed the firing of coach Jim Caldwell, that Peyton Manning was continuing to rehab from his neck surgery, that no one is close to making an evaluation yet. Archie Manning has repeatedly said the same thing about his middle son’s recovery.

And it seemed impossible that Peyton Manning would drop this bombshell just days before his younger brother plays in the NFC Championship game. It defied belief that Peyton Manning would drop this bombshell on the NFL in the the two weeks leading up to the three biggest games of its season. That just isn’t how Peyton Manning works. Still, in spite of the tweet’s improbability, journalists check these things out, particularly when they concern the NFL’s marquee player of his generation, the guy whose future in football is very much uncertain.

The difference now is that everyone is along for the ride.


Caldwell departs, leaving Peyton Manning’s future uncertain

Tracee Hamilton: Peyton Manning should take his cue from Sidney Crosby

Eli Manning on Peyton

Archie Manning on Peyton

Colts fire Caldwell

Colts fire Polians