NFL

Best bet for Colts, Peyton: Friendly split

Image: Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (© Jason O. Watson/US Presswire)
Manning's slow healing reportedly indicates he will never play again.
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Jen Floyd Engel

Jen Floyd Engel, selected as the top columnist in the 2012 Associated Press Sports Editors annual contest, started working at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997 and became a columnist in 2003 before joining FOXSports.com. Sports opinions? She's never short of them. And love her or hate her, she'll be just another one of the boys. Follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook.

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Heidi Klum and Seal's perfect marriage was “just a facade” and “Heidi’s private hell” made for a ticking time bomb of dysfunction, or so says my US Weekly.

Don't judge me.

OK, judge me just a little. I judge myself.

Just know my US Weekly is on par with your fantasy football draft board in terms of secret crazy person behavior. You know how many touches Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham is likely to get in 2012. I know Rihanna's trainer Ary Nunez has workouts on iTunes for anybody trying to get that body.

We can learn from these crazies living in LA. And by we, I am including sports.

If sports people were smart — and I am talking to you Jim Irsay, you Dwight Howard, you LeBron, you Albert Pujols — they would pay attention to how Hollywood breaks up. With rare exceptions, these mostly self-absorbed genetic lottery winners handle goodbye perfectly.

They part as loving friends, even when they wish bad things upon the other.

Take Heidi and Seal, for example. They had what most of us believed to be a perfect relationship. They made the most adorable little babies with the most perfect names (not crazy weird LA names, yet not boring). They were constantly renewing their vows and PDA-ing. It was all a facade.

US Weekly detailed a living hell, or as close to hell as extremely rich and attractive people with first-world problems can get. Example 1: They did not say a word to each other when lunching the day after Christmas in Aspen. Example 2: Seal apparently was raging jealous about Klum's mega career since he last was relevant with that very overrated Kiss From A Rose song like 10 years ago. Example 3: They fought like crazy.

AGAINST THE WALL

Peyton's politicking puts Irsay in unenviable position. MARK KRIEGEL

So I was confused reading their break-up press release. It is almost impossible to tell if they are divorcing, or taking a break, or about to make another German Seal.

"While we have enjoyed seven very loving, loyal and happy years of marriage, after much soul-searching we have decided to separate. We have the deepest respect for one another throughout our relationship and continue to love each other very much, but we have grown apart."

Now contrast this with Colts owner Jim Irsay and his quarterback Peyton Manning.

They are not officially broken up and already this sports divorce looks to be trending towards epic throw-down, not as bad as LeBron James vs. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and not as good as Prince Fielder vs. the Milwaukee Brewers, where the obviousness of the growing apart probably tempered any real hatred.

Irsay and Manning look to be going all Mel Gibson-Baby Mama break-up.

Irsay told his buddy Rob Lowe that Peyton planned to retire, news that Lowe then relayed via Twitter. This was uncool because a) Peyton insists he has zero plans of retiring and b) if he did, this would be his news to break. I am guessing this P.O.-ed Peyton and he responded with a very honest interview with Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz.

I thought Peyton handled himself well in this interview. Of course, I am biased. As per tradition in Hollywood breakups where teams and T-shirts are required, mark me down as Team Peyton.

Irsay has a Super Bowl in Indianapolis — yes, a Super Bowl in Indianapolis — because of a stadium that Peyton Manning built. The phrase he is looking for is "thank you," or at very least, “I promise not to break your news or prematurely retire you even if your neck may require that sooner than everybody thinks.”

ALL THE DRAMA

Find out what was said between Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay.

So I have no problem with Peyton saying: "I’m not in a very good place for healing, let’s say that. It’s not a really good environment down there right now, to say the least. Everybody’s walking around on eggshells. I don’t recognize our building right now. There’s such complete and total change.”

Irsay had a problem with it because he responded with Twitter silliness about “keeping it in-house” and calling Peyton a “politician” and led the very plugged-in Kravitz to tweet “this thing is deteriorating.”

What is needed is a Klum-Seal intervention.

Step 1: Agree that they have enjoyed a very winning, loyal and happy 14 years together in Indy.

They won a Super Bowl. They’d have won another if not for Kendra Baskett's husband being unable to field an onside kick. They both got rich. And while Irsay is right that “I don't think it's in the (best) interest to paint The Horseshoe in a negative light, I really don't,” he also needs to acknowledge for a long time Manning has been The Horseshoe. He was why it was seen in a positive light, why Irsay was. He made a lot of folks in Indy look smart and good. So quit tweeting crap like “Knowing medical situation last yr. n still paying $26,000,000.00 to #18,I've no regrets.It was right thing2do,I'm not pissed,contrary2rumor.”

Step 2: Agree you have grown apart.

Peyton needs a team with a chance, a team a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender, which is not the Colts. The Colts need a quarterback with years to grow with them. This is not Peyton. It is Stanford’s Andrew Luck, whom everyone says should be the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Colts just so happen to have that pick, which makes Manning — and his $28 million price tag and 36-year-old body and busted neck that may or may not allow him to play again — expendable.

NFL photos

THEY'RE THE BEST

Where does the first Giants-Patriots Super Bowl matchup rank among the 10 best Super Bowl games?

This is what teams do (Hollywood, too). They get younger. Of course, Manning is going to be a little angry. Nobody likes being curb-kicked. He’ll handle this professionally. He usually does.

Step 3: Agree it is best to part talking only about the good times rather than passive-aggressively blow-torching one another.

Look at LeBron and his ill-advised “Decision.” Maybe Ohio was going to hate him anyway. His decision to paint himself as this tortured soul made everybody in Ohio and beyond really, really hate him. When in doubt, always go out classy.

Step 4: Walk away slowly and as friends.

One day Irsay will want Peyton to come back and have his jersey retired and maybe possibly need him to help fill the place up, or sell Colts football. The Colts are kind of like their kid together. So they need to be friendly for the sake of the kid.

Or Irsay is going to find himself reading about “Manning Private Hell.”

You can follow Jen Engel on Twitter, email her or like her on Facebook.

Tagged: Colts, Peyton Manning

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