Peyton Manning was among those most surprised.
“I was stunned, I was surprised, I was saddened and just disappointed that it all happened this way,” Manning told ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen. “I was actually meeting with Bill [Polian] in the training room and we were talking about my rehab schedule, what I could and couldn’t do in the facility under the new [CBA] and my checkpoints when he was summoned to see Irsay. He actually chuckled and said, ‘We’ll see.’ “
There were indications over the last few months that Manning and Polian were not on the same page with certain aspects of Manning’s rehab. That didn’t change the affection Manning had for Polian after everything they accomplished together.
“Bill and I and Chris Polian has been here the whole time, too, had a great ride with tremendous highs and it makes me very sad that this ends on such a negative note,” said Manning.
Polians departure doesn’t mean that Manning is next out the door. In fact, we believe Irsay’s decision makes it more likely that Manning stays.
Tony Dungy joined NBC SportsTalk Monday and was stunned as well. Florio asked Dungy if Polian’s departure would affect whether Manning wanted to stay with the Colts.
“I don’t think so,” Dungy said. “With what I know, with everyone there, Peyton Manning wants to be a Colt. He wants to finish his career there. Jim Irsay wants him to finish his career there. I don’t think [Polian's departure] will be a factor at all.”