Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay revealed this week that tensions between quarterback Peyton Manning and team officials left the organization divided by the time Manning left the Colts in 2012, NFL.com's Michael Silver wrote on Thursday.
At the end of the 2011 season, one during which Manning was sidelined by neck injuries, the quarterback pushed to conduct workouts and for an opportunity to take the field in the team's last game.
Colts president Bill Polian told Irsay it was his decision, according to sources who spoke with Michael Silver this week.
Irsay nixed Manning's effort to play in Week 16 against the Houston Texans. However, when asked about it by Silver, Irsay would only say "[things] had gotten really, really bad."
Irsay made the decision to part with Manning after the Colts dropped their final game to the Jacksonville Jaguars, securing the number one overall draft selection that would ultimately bring Andrew Luck to the team.
The nature of the relationship with the team's longtime quarterback complicated the decision for Irsay.
"And when I got on the team bus after being in the locker room [after the Jacksonville game], I just broke down in tears in front of my daughters. Because just the emotion of saying, 'That era's ended.' And I knew in my heart that it was over."
Manning spent 13 seasons in Indianapolis, notching a 141-67 record and appearing in two Super Bowls, including the team's 2011 championship. In his absence in 2011, the team finished 2-14.
This season, the Colts are 4-2 and in first place in the AFC South, losing to Manning's Denver Broncos 31-24 in Week 1. Denver is 3-1 and currently second in the AFC West.
During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Manning's first two with the Broncos, he threw for 10,136 yards, 92 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
His 55 passing touchdowns in 2013 set a league record, and the team played in the Super Bowl that year.
- Christopher Woody