ManningWatch: Minimized presence fails

INDIANAPOLIS -- It would be naïve to think the Peyton Manning story wouldn’t come with layers of posturing.

I mistakenly thought that all parties would cool it this week, to allow the Super Bowl to take center stage, for Manning to stay out of the way of his brother, Eli, who quarterbacks the Giants.

But Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter managed a combo report Thursday: Manning’s been cleared physically to return to play.

That doesn’t come out, I don’t believe, unless the Manning camp wants it out. And the Manning camp should have waited until Monday.

Colts owner Jim Irsay pledged not to talk about the Manning situation this week and said he'd sit down with Manning to discuss what will unfold next week.

Then came the story that said Manning’s been physically cleared to play, but still has to reach a performance standard in terms of arm strength.

Irsay was compelled to counter via Twitter: “Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts. Team statement coming on Friday.”

Andrew Luck arrived in town yesterday too, promoting Gatorade and doing interviews with all the local TV stations.

Do we believe it's a coincidence that the Manning news came out synched up with that? I certainly don’t think so.

You haven’t exactly minimized the story, fellas.