After introducing new head coach Chuck Pagano Thursday, Colts owner Jim Irsay met with reporters and took some subtle but clear shots at Peyton Manning, who said earlier in the week that the Colts complex with so many getting fired wasn't a healthy environment for his rehab from neck surgery.
"Look, I have so much affection and appreciation for Peyton," Irsay said. "We're family, you know, we always will be and we are."
But then the team owner added, "He's a politician," all the while admitting both he and Manning were ultra-competitive types.
That said, Irsay didn't care for the tenor of some of Manning's comments, which also made reference to not wanting to get into a war of words for public support.
"I don't think it's in a good interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light, I really don't," Irsay said. "He's such a big part of that and everything else, but the horseshoe always comes first.
"I think one thing that he's always known, because he's been around it so long, is you keep it in the family. If you've got a problem, you talk to each other. It's not about campaigning or anything like that."
This situation is deteriorating quickly. Adam Schefter said on SportsCenter earlier in the day that the Colts were expected to release Manning before March 8, when his bonus ($28 million) comes due.