If you thought this whole Peyton Manning thing was going to be smooth sailing, sunshine and lollipops ... well, think again. On Thursday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Manning was medically cleared to play football. In fact, the sources told him one of Manning's doctors went as far as to say Manning could go Sunday. One has to assume word leaked from the Manning camp and done so with some kind of purpose, whatever it may have been.
Why? Because this came from Colts owner Jim Irsay hours later -- around 1 a.m. Eastern, in fact.
Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts. Team statement coming on Friday.— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) February 3, 2012
Remember that joint statement Irsay and Manning released denying hard feelings and asserting the two worked everything out? And then this happens a week later, in the run up to a Super Bowl which happens to be taking place in Indianapolis. Say what you will about the two, and whatever their relationship is, they know how to grab the spotlight with the quickness.
To recap: someone leaked that Manning was cleared to play and resume his NFL career immediately. The news created a buzz, even if it probably wasn't news, and hours later Irsay brought the hammer. Read his words carefully: Manning has not passed their physical and is not cleared to play for the Colts. There's a bit of a difference of opinion here.
This seems like it's going to get uglier sooner rather than later, and all of this is happening as Indy plays host to the NFL's premier event.