Irsay says 'nothing's been determined'

Updated: February 24, 2009, 4:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Colts owner Jim Irsay isn't waving the white flag just yet, telling the Indianapolis Star that there's still a chance Marvin Harrison could stay with the team.

"Marvin and I are talking [Tuesday] at mid-afternoon and we'll see where we go from there,'' Irsay said, according to the Star. "I'm not going to start talking like he's not here, because nothing's been determined officially by any stretch.''

The Colts called a news conference for 5:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Agent Tom Condon told The Associated Press on Monday that Indianapolis has agreed to release the franchise's all-time leading receiver, although an official announcement is not expected until Tuesday or Wednesday.

The decision comes one day after team president Bill Polian said he hoped to cut a deal that would keep Harrison in Indy. When Harrison said no, the Colts said farewell.

"There was no hardball with this, just heartache," Polian told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

"Basically, we were not able to come to any kind of agreement, it was not contentious and the Colts have agreed to release him," Condon told the AP in a phone interview.

Irsay, however, told the Star that Condon was "premature" in his announcement.

Harrison
Harrison

"This is a very, very unusual situation . . . Marvin goes back with me to 1996 when I started to assume ownership,'' Irsay said, according to the Star. "Obviously there have been conversations between Bill and Condon, but Marvin and I are going to talk it through and see where it goes.

"It's a special circumstance. It's a player and an owner, two partners who have been together for a long, long time. We're going to talk through everything and be certain that the direction we go is the right one for both of us.''

The decision to part ways, if it does come to that, is not a surprising move because the Colts would save about $6 million, based on Harrison's base salary. They would still be charged for prorated bonuses from the $66 million deal he signed in December 2004.

2008: Best of Marvin Harrison

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The Colts found it too expensive for a 36-year-old receiver coming off one of the least productive seasons of his career.

Harrison ranks second in NFL history with 1,102 receptions, and the move will disappoint many Colts fans, who embraced Harrison as a favorite. They referred to Harrison, Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James as "The Triplets," and Harrison was one of the franchise's most identifiable player in the last decade.

His penchant for toe-tapping catches along the sideline and incredible grabs in the middle of the field helped the Colts build one of the league's most successful franchises in this decade.

But longtime teammates understood why Harrison wanted to become a free agent.

"I think whatever Marvin chooses to do for himself, he has to do," center Jeff Saturday said Sunday night. "I love Marvin as a friend and as a teammate."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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