Jim Irsay put the ball back squarely in Peyton Manning's court on Tuesday, saying the Indianapolis Colts are willing to work with the quarterback on a restructured contract if he wants to.
“We can work out the contract if he wants to come back,” Irsay told ESPN.com. “We want him to make the call. He's earned that. We want him to have the chance of finishing his career here if that's what he wants to do.”
Manning, of course, is owed a $28 million roster bonus on March 8, and coming off his third neck surgery and still trying to regain the strength in his throwing arm.
"We want this to be his decision,” Irsay said. “We want him back if he wants to come back. We can work out the contract if he wants to work it out. It's going to be Peyton's call.”
The Colts retained quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen on Tuesday and Manning as worked with new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in the past as well. So things wouldn't be completely foreign to him.
Irsay may be sincere in wanting Manning to finish his career as a Colt, but he is also set things up to put the onus squarely on Peyton in such a sticky matter that will be tricky no matter how it plays out.
Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com