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Irsay now defending decision to dump Manning, draft Luck

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Peyton Manning was out in Indy in 2012 and Andrew Luck was in. (USATSI)
A confluence of events have brought us to this point. The Colts are fresh off a punchless loss to the Chargers on Monday Night Football; it's "Peyton Returns to Indy!" Week, which won't be overhyped at all; and Tim Tebow evangelist Skip Bayless sent this tweet late Monday night:

Whether coincidence or impeccable timing, Colts owner Jim Irsay, the man responsible for releasing Peyton Manning after the 2011 season and using the team's first-overall pick in 2012 to take Andrew Luck, explained his decisions regarding the quarterback situation to USAToday.com.

"Circumstances created this decision," Irsay said of the choice to part ways with Manning, who played 14 years in Indianapolis. "You have to understand there's no way this occurs if [Peyton's] in Indy. It's just impossible, where our salary cap was. Having him stay at the type of number that he expected and deserved to earn and all those things."

And despite Bayless' protestations, it was Manning who said the Colts had to draft Luck.

"He said, 'You've got to take Andrew,'" Irsay recounted. "'You have to. You're crazy if you don't.'"

Put another way: There is a scenario where moving on from Manning and drafting Luck benefited both players, and both the Broncos (Manning's new team) and the Colts.

"I think it's perfect," Irsay said. "What's happened is what Peyton and I hoped would happen. The desire was for him to get well and get to a team that has a chance to win another Super Bowl before his career ended. And our desire was to be able to transition to Andrew. To be so good so soon is stunning."

Both Manning and Luck made the playoffs last season, and now Manning leads the NFL's most explosive offense. And despite Monday night's setback, the Colts are the favorites to win the AFC South. It's easy to take shots at Irsay for his random tweeting habits, but trading in Manning for Luck was absolutely the right decision.

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