Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy said Tuesday that the team's decision to release Peyton Manning was not a "no-brainer."
Dungy said in a conference call that he talked with Colts owner Jim Irsay several times over the month that led to the decision and that he believes had Irsay known Manning would be playing the way he is now, the decision likely would have been different.
"I can almost guarantee you, if (Irsay) knew that (Peyton) was going to be healthy like this and playing this kind of football, in hindsight, I don't think he would have done it," said Dungy, now an NFL analyst for NBC. "With everything the way it was at that time, and with Andrew being there and being available, knowing the scouting report on Andrew and the percentages of Peyton coming back and playing well at that point, it was the right thing to do."
Manning made a mark on Indianapolis not only because of his play on the field, but because of his community involvement.
"He played well on the field, but he was there. He was involved in the community on a daily basis," Dungy said. "He and Reggie Miller, special athletes in the city."
Officials with Manning's PeyBack Foundation said they have distributed nearly $6.5 million to organizations in Colorado, Tennessee, Louisiana and Indiana. In Indiana, 12 organizations received more than $52,000 this year, including Christamore House in Indianapolis.
The family community center has gotten a check from the foundation for the last three years to help pay for science, technology, engineering and math programs for children.
Emotions will be running high before the game, with Indianapolis planning to recognize Manning and his accomplishments with the Colts.
"He spent 14 years there, and he poured everything he had into it, and that's why it's going to be so emotional going back," Dungy said. "There's going to be emotion from fans. There's going to be emotion from him. He's going to try to hide it as best he can, but I promise you it's going to be emotional."