I’ve never done one of these before, but this seems like a great opportunity to give it a try! The Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning will be holding a press conference today at 12 noon, understood to be the announcement of Manning being cut.
I’ll throw some quotes up as they speak, and will give my reactions as they come to me. We don’t have a live-updating system or anything, though, so if you’re joining us live you’ll want to hit refresh to check for new entries.
–We’ll get rolling at 12:00pm!–
12:00 – here we go, slight technical oddity with ESPN2 steam but it’s up now
12:01 “It’s a difficult day here of shared pain” – Jim Irsay current speaking, Manning beside him
12:01 – They’re simultaneously retiring #18 jersery
12:02 – “Circumstances that were difficult to overcome” Indicating it’s a purely salary cap motivation. He’s really going to town with “tearing our hearts” and emphasizing the difficulty of the decision.
12:03 – “It’s never been about the money.” But…wait….you just said it was….of course it is….right?
12:03 – “Peyton has been completely unselfish” Now Irsay is tearing up. Catching on his words, this is clearly extremely emotional for him. You can’t doubt his sincerity.
12:04 – Manning is looking very sympathetic and supportive to the side. Again, clearly very emotional for Irsay discussing Peyton’s legacy.
12:05 – Manning speaking now, very difficult for him to speak through the emotion from the first word. Very reminiscent of the Wayne Gretzky trade press conference.
12:06 – “This has not been easy for Jim, and it has sure not been easy for me…Jim, I will be forever grateful.”
12:07 – “I will leave this organization with nothing but good thoughts.” Struggling with every word, especially when talking about the city and the fans.
12:08 – To the Indy fans – “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I have truly enjoyed being your quarterback.” Moving on to questions now.
12:10 – “I don’t know what the next steps are, this is all new to me.” Says he is confident in his abilities to continue playing.
12:11 – “The contract and the money were never the issue.” So what exactly was the issue? Nothing wrong with it being about the contract…all about what’s best for the player and franchise, it’s all tied together.
12:12 – “I just think as a franchise right now…we’re rebuilding, we’re definitely a few years away…I want to see him come back and play great…I want that opportunity for him,” says Irsay.
12:13 – “I’m not leaving Indianapolis. This city has been so great to me. I won’t be with the Colts, but this city will always be a big part of me.”
12:14 – Peyton hinting a bit at the…zealous…media coverage. Suggests we should all keep things in perspective, with serious issues such as the recent tornado out there.
12:15 – Both sides are emphatic in their statement of appreciation to the other side and the city as a whole. Peyton – “I will always be a Colt”
12:16 – “I’m throwing pretty well, I’ve still got progress to make. I can’t tell you the hours I’ve put into it…What’s been the most fun has just been getting back on the field.”
12:17 – Peyton choking up more than anything else talking about the staff and Colts organization personnel. Clearly a lot of long standing, strong relationships there.
12:18 – Suggesting there was never any contention between he (Manning) and Irsay. He says he never had to lobby to stay or try to “make his case”
12:19 – “I don’t want to retire. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. No one loves playing quarterback more than I do.”
12:20 – Irsay: the circumstances dictated it. We have to rebuilt, and people tend to forget about [the importance of] cap space.
12:22 – “Hopefully we’ll see Peyton be successful immediately, and we’ll grow and improve.” No the first time he’s suggested that he’d like to see Peyton’s new team do well (between the lines: because the Colts probably won’t be as they rebuild the next few years)
12:22 – They’ve concluded the conference with a big hug between Manning and Irsay. Anyone who went in to this conference thinking there was bad blood or that Irsay didn’t mean what he said about how much Manning means to him personally has been disproven, if you ask me.