KRAVITZ BLOG: Don't cross Manning - because he will find a way to have the last word

Peyton Manning was honored at a Marian University event Tuesday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Bob Kravitz

This is the third of a handful of blogs leading up to the Peyton Manning statue unveiling outside of Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday afternoon. Click here to read Part I and here to read Part II.

The day Jim Irsay hired Chuck Pagano, he also made headlines by calling Peyton Manning a "politician" for comments Manning made in my IndyStar column about his unhappiness with all the staff changes. This, of course, was during that odd psychodrama during which Manning was attempting to heal from multiple neck surgeries, and the Colts were debating (but not much) whether to draft Andrew Luck and let Manning walk.

So I transcribed all of Irsay's quotes and then e-mailed Manning.

"Do you have any desire to respond to Irsay's quotes?" I wondered.

He called me within minutes.

"Do you think I should?" he asked.

Being a journalist, I thought, "Heck, yes, you should say something, and you should say it to me – exclusively."

Well, he agreed. Those were raw times, remember? And it was starting to get nasty.

"Can you help me come up with something?" he asked.

I laughed. For one thing, it's totally unethical for me to do something like that, so that was out of the question. "You graduated Tennessee in three years," I said. "I think you can handle this."

Over the next hour, he sent me e-mail after e-mail after e-mail, editing his short statement, trying to get it just right. The guy was a perfectionist even when it came to two-sentence comments.

Finally he wrote something he liked and I sent it out of Twitter, where it became another part of the long narrative that was unfolding that spring.

One thing I learned about Manning over the years, he's got a very long memory and he'll always have the last word. Remember Jim Mora's famous "playoffs!!" rant? Of course you do. What you may not remember is that Mora also crushed Peyton Manning during that press conference, continually pointing out all the pick-sixes he threw against the San Francisco 49ers.

Then came Wednesday of that following week, and the local media received word from our Baltimore brethren that Manning had thrown some serious shade at Mora. See, on Wednesdays, the star player from each team will do a conference call interview with the media from next week's opposing team. So Wednesday was Baltimore's turn since the Colts were playing the Ravens that next Sunday.

Seriously, he said nothing after the game, nothing during Monday's local media availability, nothing Tuesday (the team's day off), but come Wednesday, he just had to vent about Mora.

Now, I don't know if this is a good quality or a bad quality in a person, but I'm telling you, Manning remembers, and Manning almost always gets the last word.

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