INDIANAPOLIS — Colts owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday his comments about frustration over the lack of Super Bowl championships during the Peyton Manning era have been misconstrued.
Speaking inside the team's practice facility while surrounded by local and national media, Irsay reiterated he has the highest respect for the Denver quarterback and is proud of the team's accomplisments during Manning's 14 seasons in Indianapolis.
"There was never a negative comment towards Peyton," Irsay said. "(Broncos) Coach (John) Fox, I have great respect for him. I think he's just a tremendous man of integrity and an outstanding coach. I don't think that the comments, however they came back to people, I know they were misperceived."
The quote drawing the most ire comes from Tuesday's edition of USA Today. Irsay first told reporter Jarrett Bell he was frustrated watching New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and the New York Giants win multiple championships. Then he talked about the need for more balance on his own football team.
"You make the playoffs 11 times, and you're out in the first round seven out of 11 times," he said. "You love to have the 'Star Wars' numbers from Peyton and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne). Mostly, you love this."
At the end, Irsay flicked up his right hand to display his ring celebrating the Colts' Super Bowl XLI victory against Chicago.
During a Tuesday radio appearance, Fox called the comments a "cheap shot" directed toward Manning. He didn't back down during a conference call Wednesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center but made it clear he was finished talking about the issue.
"I made those comments, they were yesterday's comments," Fox said. "I stand by them. Really, any commments moving forward will have to deal with the ballgame Sunday night there in Indianapolis."