Colts’ Peyton Manning talks about future with Indianapolis columnist

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (L) smiles while standing on the sidelines next to Colts quarterback Matt Painter during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Indianapolis December 18, 2011. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

One of the biggest offseason stories will be the future of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and Manning, after a season of mostly silence dealing with a neck injury, spoke about his future with Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz in a story published Tuesday morning.

Manning started off by cracking a joke at the expense of actor Rob Lowe, who sent a Twiiter post saying that Manning would retire.

“I never thought ‘Sodapop Curtis’ would announce my retirement,” Manning said, laughing, referring to Lowe’s character in the 1983 movie “The Outsiders.” “I always thought I would be the one to announce it. I’m a huge fan of the movie, but that caught me way off guard. I can’t explain it. I know he (Lowe) is a friend of Jim’s (Irsay), and Jim sounded surprised.”

One of the key takeaways is that Manning has had minimal contact with new general manager Ryan Grigson since Grigson took over for Bill and Chris Polian in an organizational clean-out that also claimed head coach Jim Caldwell and several assistant coaches following a 2-14 season.

Manning said that Grigson hinted that the decision on Manning’s future with the Colts will rest with owner Jim Irsay, and not with the new GM.

The changes in the Colts’ facility has affected Manning personally after several years of stability.

“I’m not in a very good place for healing, let’s say that,” he said, referring to the practice facility. “It’s not a real good environment down there right now, to say the least. Everybody’s walking around on eggshells. I don’t recognize our building right now. There’s such complete and total change.”

What is clear from Manning’s words is that he wants to finish his career in Indianapolis.

“I don’t want to get into some kind of fan campaign with the owner, but I think it’s well documented that I want to play in the same place my whole career …” Manning said to Kravitz. “But I understand how it works. I understand tough decisions have to be made. There’s personal and there’s business and that’s where we’ve got to separate the two. I’ve seen other guys leave places and it was personal. I’ve invested too much into this city for that to happen. We live here, we’ve given lots of time and money to the community and our church, and that’s never going to change Nothing changes that. ”

Manning was in San Francisco to watch his brother Eli take the New York Giants to Super Bowl XLVI, which will be held in Peyton’s home stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on February 5.

The $28 million-dollar question pertains to Manning’s health in the face of a healthy bonus due to him during the offseason. As Kravitz writes:

As for Manning’s health, he’s not all the way back yet, but he’s not going to put any kinds of percentages on his recovery, nor will he predict whether he’ll be at full strength by early March, when the $28 million option bonus is due. At this point, he just doesn’t know.

Manning closed his conversation with Kravitz by saying that he wants to make an announcement one way or the other, and not have someone else do it for him. With that, he took one more shot at Lowe:

“Hopefully, Sodapop Curtis doesn’t tweet it before I can say anything.”

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