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Jim Irsay: I meant we should have put a better team around Peyton

Colts Backup Plan Football

FILE - This July 31, 2011, file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning speaking during a news conference with the NFL football team’s owner Jim Irsay, right front, at the teams training camp, in Anderson, Ind. Manning says he won’t play the last two preseason games and Colts owner Jim Irsay says his team must be prepared to open the season without Manning behind center. (AP Photo/Alan Petersime, FIle)


Colts owner Jim Irsay probably wishes he hadn’t said anything at all about Peyton Manning’s departure from Indianapolis.

But now that Irsay did say that in moving on from Manning he chose championships over stats, and now that Irsay has been criticized in some quarters as taking a cheap shot at Manning, Irsay is continuing his attempt to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Hours after Irsay said his comments are being twisted by people with “negative agendas,” Irsay returned to Twitter to say that what he really meant with his initial comments was that he wishes the Colts had been able to put a better team around Manning.

Translating from Irsay tweet-speak into English, that basically means, “My comments meant if we gave Peyton better special teams and defense, we would have won more than one Super Bowl, instead of asking Peyton to do too much. It’s hard to see how any individual could understand my comments any other way, but controversy sells, so I understand the games: ‘Let’s get something started.’”

Whatever Irsay meant, his comments have been interpreted as taking a shot at Manning, just as Irsay was widely interpreted as taking shots at Manning in 2011, when Irsay referred to Manning as a “politician” after Manning discussed the Colts’ plans for a future without him. At that time, Irsay said Manning should “keep it in house” and not discuss their relationship publicly. Now Irsay is probably wishing he had taken his own advice.