Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay denied a report that he had already decided to cut ties with quarterback Peyton Manning.
As he has been known to do, Irsay took to Twitter to express himself, offering a comment after the NFL Network reported the Colts were “planning to move on from Manning weeks ago.”
“No he hasn’t been released nor was a decision reached weeks ago,” Irsay tweeted late Saturday night.
The report and response came after a week of public sniping between Irsay and Manning. It also came a day after the men issued a joint statement saying they wanted to “dispel any misperception that there might be hard feelings between us.”
The statement did not dismiss the chance of a separation, though. The NFL Network cited sources involved in the Colts’ search for a new general manager as saying Irsay decided two weeks ago he would not pick up Manning’s $28 million bonus and Manning would depart.
Manning, who had his third neck surgery in September, said last week he was upset by the firing of long-time executives Bill and Chris Polian, and coach Jim Caldwell and that the environment was not conducive to healing for him.
Irsay, who has said the team would take a quarterback with the No. 1 overall draft pick after a 2-14 season, responded by saying it wasn’t good for Manning to “paint the horseshoe in a negative light.” Irsay’s reference was to the Colts’ logo.
The pair tried to show some public solidarity with their statement Friday, though the statement did not address whether Manning would return. Instead, it said the men were “both committed to maintaining our close relationship and to working together through any challenges the future may bring.”