INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Jim Irsay remains unfazed by the nonstop media attention and constant speculation his relationship with Peyton Manning is generating.
Much has been made about the impending meeting between the Colts owner and his star quarterback, but Irsay says those negotiations are already under way, and the lines of communication have always been open.
"We talk a lot … and it's probably not always what people think we might talk about," Irsay told 24-Hour News 8. "Very recently we got into a debate about - will Tiger Woods win more majors than Jack Nicklaus or not?"
Of course there is one major, far more serious, debate Colts fans would like Irsay and Manning to settle sometime soon. Unfortunately, it appears the negotiation process will likely last another three weeks – right up until Manning's $28 million option bonus is due March 8.
"We both know everyone has great interest on it. We'll just keep talking. And certainly by that date we'll come up with something that makes sense for him and for the Colts," Irsay said. "I think we both understand each other's issues. [We're] not delaying it for any intentional reason. It's not only a big decision, but it's a complicated and tough decision."
After calling out Manning about the importance of keeping issues "in house," Irsay has taken heat for making plenty of his own public comments to the media. But the owner quickly laughed off any perception that he and Manning's relationship has deteriorated.
"If I call him a politician, he asks for one stroke back on the golf course. But now he's given me one because I thought he was acting like a jerk before," Irsay said, laughing. "I think we have that kind of relationship … . People are always going to speculate and things like that. Sometimes I think I should say things in reverse, and people that are the interpreters would probably get it right then."
So the Colts owner maintains he and Manning's personal relationship will be lifelong. But the obvious question remains: How long can their professional relationship remain intact?
"[Peyton] and I will continue to always be great friends, and I hope it's with him still being in a Colt uniform," Irsay said. "But we'll see."
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