Who needs a P.R. department when the boss has a Twitter page?
With Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reporting that the Colts decided to cut quarterback Peyton Manning “weeks ago,” Colts owner Jim Irsay took to Twitter at some point after midnight Sunday to respond.
“No he hasn’t been released nor was a decision reached weeks ago,” Irsay said.
The first part is a little odd because no one is reporting, or has reported, that Manning has been released. In fact, no current players from teams whose seasons have ended can be released until after the Super Bowl.
The back end or Irsay’s latest tweet invites word parsing as to the question of whether a decision has been reached on Manning’s status. With Irsay saying a decision wasn’t reached weeks ago, it’s possible he’s implicitly conceding that a decision has been reached, but that it didn’t happen “weeks ago.”
Regardless, no statements from the team’s P.R. department nor Twitter entries from Irsay will put the genie back in the bottle regarding Peyton’s status. It will be the dominant story line of the week before the Super Bowl, rivaling the coverage of the game that will be played in seven days and eclipsing any of the feel-good angles emerging from the host city of Indianapolis.
As to La Canfora’s report, and at the risk of violating the unwritten rule that a reporter shouldn’t speculate regarding another reporter’s sources, let’s go ahead and speculate regarding his sources.
“According to sources who were involved in the Colts’ G.M. search, the organization was planning to move on from Manning weeks ago, well before this public squabble between the quarterback and his owner,” La Canfora said.
“Sources who were involved in the Colts’ G.M. search” quite possibly, if not probably, refers to candidates for the job who interviewed but weren’t hired. And those candidates would know that a decision was made if, during the interview process, Irsay or someone else from the Colts made it clear that the new G.M. won’t be confronted with that decision as his first order of business.
It’s not unreasonable that such a statement would be made, since it would make the job more attractive if the new G.M. doesn’t have the burden of answering the $28 million question.
The candidates who didn’t get the job were Falcons director of player personnel Les Snead, Falcons director of college scouting David Caldwell, Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, Cowboys assistant director of scouting Tom Ciskowski, Colts director of player personnel Tom Telesco, and Montreal Alouettes G.M. Jim Popp. We’d also heard that former Saints and Dolphins G.M. Randy Mueller was on Irsay’s radar, but it’s not known whether he was interviewed.