The Indianapolis Colts wanted to trade their franchise quarterback Peyton Manning in 2004, while the team was still competing for playoff spots and Super Bowl championships, reports the Indianapolis Star.
According to Colts owner Jim Irsay, former Colts general manager Bill Polian was “at wit’s end” as he tried to sign Manning to a new contract, when the subject of trading Manning was brought up. The Colts eventually signed Manning to a $99.2 million contract with $34.5 million guaranteed and the team won the Super Bowl two seasons later.
Polian said, “We need to trade Peyton; we can get a bunch of defensive players and become like Tampa Bay or Baltimore.” Irsay said no. “Understand something, Bill, we are not trading Peyton Manning, period,’’ Irsay recalled telling the former team president.
“There’s his myth that there’s no loyalty in football,” Irsay said. “Well, there’s tremendous loyalty and emotion and respect that go into the coaches and players you’ve gone into battle with. But as an owner you have to make the decisions that are the right ones for the organization, that are the right ones that will help you win. And you have to have a vision of how you’re going to get there.’’
Manning won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award in 2004 after throwing for 4,557 yards and a then-NFL record 49 touchdowns. The Colts ended up releasing Manning last March and he went on to sign with the Denver Broncos.