Archie Manning on Irsay remarks: 'I'm just trying to stay out of this mess'

Peyton and Archie embrace after the Colts' Super Bowl XLI victory. (USATSI)
Colts owner Jim Irsay got "Peyton's Returning to Indy Week!" off to a rousing start by calling out Peyton Manning, the man spent 14 years with the Colts and led them to a Super Bowl title following the 2006 season.

That was Tuesday. In the intervening 100-plus hours, nearly everyone has weighed in on the matter: Former Colts president Bill Polian, former Colts coach Tony Dungy, Broncos coach John Fox, and even Rockies first baseman Tood Helton got in on the action.

Now we can add another name: The Patriarch of the Football on Your Phone royalty -- and Peyton's dad -- Archie Manning.

So what could have possibly prompted Irsay to to say what he did about Peyton and his time in Indy?

"Oh, I don't know," Archie Manning told earlier this week. "I'm just trying to stay out of this mess."

Sage-like advice from the elder Manning. Advice Peyton embraced in the days leading up to Sunday night's Broncos-Colts get-together.

When asked by the Indianapolis Star if he held any ill will towards the Colts, Peyton took the high road.

"To answer a question like that doesn't serve me well," Manning said. "I feel like the question is based on the (Irsay) comments, so it's just easier not to answer anything along those lines."

Irsay later tried to clarify his remarks -- through Twitter, naturally -- but the story had taken on a life of its own by that point.

We particularly enjoyed Dungy's take: Irsay was deliberately trying to provoke Manning.

"I think that's what he's trying to do," Dungy told ESPN via text message. "Have him make it such a big game he doesn't perform well. I can't figure any other reason to go this way."

One problem with that theory: This is like Irsay trying to distract a bear by poking it with a branding iron. Instead of confusing the bear, Irsay instead made the bear lose its mind and is promptly the victim of a vicious attack -- at his own doing.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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