Peyton Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay insist they are just fine after a week filled with complaints and comments suggesting a rift had developed following one of the franchise’s most miserable seasons.
“We would like to dispel any misperception that there might be any hard feelings between us,’’ the two said yesterday in a statement issued by the team. “Since 1998, we have enjoyed a great relationship, based upon mutual respect and trust. We have always been able to talk and address matters we’ve faced over the years, not just as owner and player, but as friends.
“We had a long talk today and we want to assure Colts fans everywhere that we are both committed to maintaining our close relationship and to working together through any challenges the future may bring.’’
That would be welcome news to Colts fans, who first watched Manning publicly complain about the down-in-the-mouth atmosphere at team headquarters and then two days later saw Irsay call out his franchise quarterback at a news conference intended to focus on the new head coach.
On Tuesday, Manning told the Indianapolis Star that his only real conversation so far with the new general manager Ryan Grigson had come in passing and the flurry of firings had those around the team complex walking on “eggshells.’’ Irsay didn’t like that Manning went public with his frustrations and he said so Thursday, calling Manning a “politician.’’
“I don’t think it’s in the best interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light, I really don’t,’’ Irsay told reporters following Chuck Pagano’s introduction as coach.
Bucs welcome aboard Schiano
Greg Schiano, the 45-year-old architect of a stunning turnaround at Rutgers, was formally introduced as the “right man’’ to the lead the Buccaneers - the NFL’s youngest team - to playoff contention and beyond. Schiano took over a struggling program at Rutgers and turned it into a Big East contender during an 11-year run with the Scarlet Knights. The Bucs are banking on him to have the same kind of impact in Tampa Bay, which has not won a playoff game since winning its only NFL title in 2002 . . . The Raiders officially announced Dennis Allen’s hiring as coach yesterday, three days after reports emerged that he was new general manager Reggie McKenzie’s choice to lead the franchise. Allen will be officially introduced Monday.
Joe Philbin was once hired by Mike Sherman in Green Bay. Yesterday, Philbin returned the favor. Philbin, the new Dolphins’ coach, hired Sherman as offensive coordinator, also adding Kevin Coyle as the team’s defensive coordinator. Combined, the 57-year-old Sherman and the 56-year-old Coyle have 68 years of football coaching experience. They also have stops at Holy Cross on their résumés. Sherman and Philbin have a relationship that goes back decades - Sherman was once Philbin’s high school English teacher . . . John Fox and Jack Del Rio are together again. The Broncos agreed to terms with Del Rio to become defensive coordinator, the team’s seventh in seven seasons. Del Rio was Fox’s first defensive coordinator in Carolina in 2002 before leaving after one year to coach the Jaguars, who fired him in November . . . Browns coach Pat Shurmur hired former Vikings coach Brad Childress as his offensive coordinator, reuniting coaches who spent seven seasons together on Andy Reid’s staff with the Eagles. Childress spent nearly five seasons with the Vikings before he was fired in 2010. Childress was Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator from 2003-05 when Shurmur coached the Eagles quarterbacks.
Ravens promote Pees
The Ravens opted for continuity in their coaching staff, promoting linebackers coach Dean Pees to replace Pagano as defensive coordinator and retaining offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Coach John Harbaugh also announced that special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Jerry Rosburg also will be back. Pees, 62, was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator from 2006-09. He replaced Pagano, who left after one year to become the Colts’ head coach. Pees was secondary coach at Miami of Ohio when Harbaugh was a defensive back at the school. “If Dean can make me any kind of a player, that shows you the kind of great coach he really is,’’ said Harbaugh . . . Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery got his second interview for the Bears’ general manager’s position. Emery and Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht, who was interviewed a second time Thursday, are the finalists . . . The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission said the Rams’ plan to play one home game in London the next three years violates the team’s stadium lease.