So no, Manning isn't on the cusp of retirement
. In a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with The Star on Monday night, the Colts' future Hall of Fame quarterback addressed a number of pressing topics, including his health, his sadness over the firings of several coaches, his minimal relationship with new general manager Ryan Grigson and the future.
For the record, Manning and Grigson finally met, briefly, last week when the two ran across each other in the facility.
"One thing he (Grigson) kind-of, sort-of told me, without really wanting to tell me, was that Irsay will be the guy I'm going to sit down and talk with," Manning said. "That's going to happen at some point, but we haven't had that conversation yet because we really don't need to have that conversation yet."
"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."
"I mean, it's 20 degrees, it's snowing, the building is absolutely empty except when you see coaches cleaning out their offices," he said. "I guess it's the reality of the football world, just not something I've had to deal with very often. But I'm in there every day, so I have to sit there and see it. Everybody's being evaluated and I'm no different. It's not the best environment."
It's been difficult with all the coaches, many of whom have been with Manning since the beginning, or at least close to it. This franchise has been a model of stability and continuity; now it's all about change. When Manning hasn't been rehabilitating, he's been calling other franchises and offering recommendations on behalf of the departed coaches.
"I just want to pay tribute to all those guys. It's unfortunate because so many of them have been such a big part of so many big wins here, and this is so ... sudden. Their keys didn't work the next day. There's no other way to do it? I don’t know. That's hard to see, all these people leaving.
"And I may be behind them. Who knows?"
The question was posed: Given all the changes, the fact the Colts appear to be in a rebuilding mode, does Manning even want to come back to Indianapolis?
"Whatever happens, happens. I can't give you a prediction because Jim (Irsay) and I will sit down at some point and he'll get a feel for where I am and I’ll get a sense of what direction he wants to go. Right now, I have no idea."