Colts owner Jim Irsay brushed off charges today that his intent to have snipers positioned in, around and on Lucas Oil Stadium for his upcoming meeting with Peyton Manning suggests he is looking to have the quarterback assassinated.
"That couldn't be more off-base," said Irsay. "I've never explicitly told anyone to take a shot at Peyton. I made sure of that. You can't find one instance of me telling them personally to shoot him in the head or in the heart — or the stomach, which would be a more painful way to die, of course."
Irsay is scheduled to meet with Manning next week to discuss the quarterback's future with the team. Manning is scheduled to arrive outside the stadium and then be led through a dark tunnel area with no escape in which he will only be visible from above.
"To even imply that he will be led into a quote-unquote 'shooting gallery' is irresponsible. It's merely a dark hallway," said Irsay. "Do people sometimes get shot in hallways? Sure. But it's far from a kill zone, in which he will be completely exposed and defenseless for 13 to 16 seconds."
Irsay said this week that the decision to remain with the Colts is entirely up to the quarterback himself, even though the team is in position to take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick.
"Peyton Manning has meant more to this organization than any player in its history," says Irsay. "And I made sure to put the same sentiment in his official team obituary, that we happened to write up this week in case anything bad would ever happen to him. But let's hope nothing does, I should probably add."
The Colts' owner also bristled when asked why he had double-booked Manning's meeting time slot next week.
"I'm a busy man. I often double book meetings," he said. "You never know when someone might have to cancel or be rushed to the hospital, only to be pronounced dead on the way there due to multiple gunshot wounds."