Fox, Polian return fire at Colts owner

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay backed down a bit after Denver coach John Fox and former Colts general manager Bill Polian chided him for comments critical of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

Fox used his weekly SiriusXM NFL Radio appearance Tuesday to criticize Irsay for sounding ungrateful for all Manning did for his team and city, including winning a Super Bowl in 2007, and Polian used the same platform to say Irsay was wrong in his facts and opinions.

After a series of tweets defending himself Tuesday night, Irsay took to Twitter on Wednesday to say he meant that if the Colts had given Manning better special teams and defense, they could have won more than one Super Bowl instead of asking the quarterback to do too much.

When asked about Irsay's comments, Manning said, "I don't have an answer for you on that, or any comment on that."

In a conference call with Denver media Wednesday, Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Irsay harbors no ill will toward Manning.

"I don't think there's anybody that Mr. Irsay respects and cares for more than Peyton," Pagano said. "What can't you say about Peyton? What he's done for this organization, what he's done for the city, our fans – what he's done for football – it's off the charts."

Denver plays at Indianapolis on Sunday.

Vikings – Josh Freeman was named the latest starting quarterback for scuffling Minnesota. Freeman's second week with the team will culminate Monday night with him leading the offense against the New York Giants. Coach Leslie Frazier also said Christian Ponder will be the backup, not Matt Cassel.

Cowboys – Dallas unloaded defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, saying he failed a physical after spending the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list. He was eligible to be activated this week.

Buccaneers – One of three players who have been diagnosed with MRSA had surgery to eliminate the staph infection. Coach Greg Schiano said guard Carl Nicks had surgery Tuesday and was doing well.

Seahawks – Seattle expects starting tight end Zach Miller to return to the lineup tonight against Arizona. Miller has missed two games because of a strained hamstring.

Patriots – Linebacker Jerod Mayo went on season-ending injured reserve, joining star tackle Vince Wilfork. Mayo was injured in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over New Orleans when he and safety Steve Gregory tackled Darren Sproles. Mayo's agent, Mitch Frankel, didn't respond to a request for comment on a report that Mayo had surgery for a torn chest muscle.

Bills – Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is expected to miss another four to six weeks now that he has begun rehabilitation on his sprained right knee.

Giants – Veteran running back Peyton Hillis was signed to fill a void in the backfield. The six-year veteran has played for Denver, Cleveland and Kansas City.

Lions – Ndamukong Suh has been fined by the NFL – again. The defensive tackle was docked $31,500 for a hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the fine had not been announced.

Bears – Wide receiver Brandon Marshall said he was fined $10,500 by the NFL for wearing green shoes in the Oct. 10 game against the Giants. Marshall said before the game he was wearing the shoes to attract attention to Mental Health Awareness Week.

Fryar indicted – Former NFL player Irving Fryar and his mother, Allene McGhee, were indicted by a New Jersey grand jury on charges they conspired to steal more than $690,000 through a mortgage scam. Fryar, 51, of Springfield, N.J., is pastor of a church he founded and the head coach of the Robbinsville High School football team.

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