Mike Wells | ESPN.com
Irsay, who has taken center stage over Peyton Manning‘s return to Indianapolis on Sunday, said he wasn’t taking a cheap shot at Manning.
“Those comments were organizational comments; they weren’t on Peyton or anything else,” Irsay said at the Colts’ facility Wednesday. “You look in the past, we spent as much as 70 percent on the offensive side of the ball. Seventy percent of the [salary] cap. Really it’s more talking about how you build a championship team to win multiple championships. I was very certain about how we wanted to go into the future into a new era in terms of our balance. I think [former Colts general manager] Bill [Polian] and I even talked about that the last few years before he left.”
Irsay said in an USA Today article: “You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the ‘Star Wars’ numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]. Mostly, you love this [ring].”
Fox believes Irsay took an unnecessary shot at Manning that was “disappointing and inappropriate” because the Colts won only one Super Bowl with him during his 14 seasons with the organization. The Colts won at least 12 games for seven straight years with Manning at quarterback.
Fox said during a conference call that he stands behind his comments made on SiriusXM.
“Fox, I have great respect for him,” Irsay said. “I don’t think that the comments, however they came back to people, I know they were misperceived.”
When asked to talk about his relationship with Irsay since the Colts released him in March 2012, Manning said, “I can’t and I won’t,” giving the indication there might be some tension between the two.
Irsay said he called Manning on Wednesday but has yet to hear back from him. The Colts (4-2) plan to have a tribute before Sunday’s game against the undefeated Broncos (6-0) in which they will honor Manning.
“It’s just going to be a tremendous presentation in terms of honoring him,” Irsay said. “I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg in the sort of honoring [Manning].”
- Indianapolis Colts reporter for ESPN.com
- Previously worked at Indianapolis Star
- Covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press