Indianapolis Colts make heartbreaking but necessary decision to release Peyton Manning

Nobody — nobody — wanted it to end this way.

Not you or me. Not Indianapolis Colts fans, who are sure to be divided — many of them irate — about the franchise’s decision to part ways with Peyton Manning. Not Manning himself. Not owner Jim Irsay, who undoubtedly will be the recipient of the aforementioned fan ire. Not Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz, who was among the first (if not the first) to opine that parting ways with Manning was the only decision that made sense for the franchise and subsequently became an easy target for angry Colts fans as someone who was running the four-time MVP out of town.

Nobody wanted it to end this way.

But it must.

With the official announcement — a joint one — that the Colts will release Manning after 14 seasons with the club coming at noon today, the news we’ve been expecting really hits home. And it hits home hard — for many reasons. But as heartbreaking as it might be to see the departure of someone who essentially put football on the map in Indiana, there was just no way around it.

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The only story with the Indianapolis Colts is Peyton Manning

Just so you know, the Colts have made a few major changes this offseason.

Bill and Chris Polian are gone. In their place is new general manager Ryan Grigson, formerly a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office.

Oh, and former coach Jim Caldwell also is out of town. The new guy? Chuck Pagano, who spent the 2011 season as the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator. Word is he plans to do away with the Colts’ familiar Tampa 2 defense and install a hybrid 3-4 scheme.

The Colts have some new coordinators too, you know. Bruce Arians, who was the team’s quarterbacks coach from 1998-2000 and previously served as offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is back in Indy to conduct the offense (Clyde Christensen isn’t gone, though. He’s quarterbacks coach now). Greg Manusky, who in 2011 was the San Diego Chargers’ defensive coordinator, now has that position here.

Any other offseason, these would be HUGE stories that would command their own blog posts. But this offseason? We hardly have heard a peep from or about any of these guys. There’s only one story surrounding the Indianapolis Colts right now: the very public dilemma between Peyton Manning and owner Jim Irsay that eventually will lead to the four-time MVP’s exit from town.

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Indianapolis Colts Lose Again, Now in Driver’s Seat for No. 1 Pick

The previous weekend was a rather turbulent one for the Indianapolis Colts.

It was capped, of course, with another loss, this one a 31-7 drubbing at home to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Depending on one’s perspective, however, the loss might have been a blessing, as the Miami Dolphins, who until Sunday were the NFL’s only other winless team, beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-3 for their first win of the season — giving the Colts the inside track for the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and its prospective prize, Stanford quarterbakc andrew Luck.

But those weren’t the only story lines surrounding the Colts during this rough weekend.

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Tyler Hansbrough Becoming Go-To Guy for Indiana Pacers?

Some guys really do play with chips on their shoulders.

That seems to be the case with Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough, who arguably has been the team’s most reliable player in terms of production during a recent 1-8 skid that left Indiana hanging on for dear life in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Hansbrough’s current season averages of 10.5 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game certainly aren’t indicative of how the former North Carolina standout has played recently. He recorded back-to-back career-high scoring nights in a home-and-home sweep of the New York Knicks, posting 29 points Sunday at Madison Square Garden and one-upping that tally with the first 30-point game of his pro career Tuesday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Surprised? Those who follow the Pacers regularly shouldn’t be.

By Drew Allen

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Indiana Pacers Fire Jim O’Brien; More Change on the Way?

The Indiana Pacers fired coach Jim O’Brien on Sunday midway through the fourth year of O’Brien’s contract and named assistant Frank Vogel interim coach for the rest of 2010-11.

O’Brien went 121-169 as Pacers coach and began this season 17-27 before being relieved of his duties.

The first thing to take away from Sunday’s news is that the Pacers are doing the right thing in parting ways with O’Brien. He wasn’t getting it done at a point in his contract when Indiana should be a solid playoff contender in a weak Eastern Conference. I’ll have more on that later, but O’Brien’s dismissal presents an opportunity for the Pacers to start fresh.

The question is, is it just the first one?

By Drew Allen

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