COLTS OWNER AND CEO JIM IRSAY (general comments) * *
"Good afternoon and thank you for coming. We are here to announce the departure of Marvin Harrison from the Indianapolis Colts. It's a day as an owner that you know eventually will come, but it's not a day that you look forward to. I can see Marvin in 1996 coming in from the draft into our complex and talking to him and meeting him for the first time. The journey began. Certainly, he came right around the same time I assumed ownership. As an owner, these are rare events when you have a chance to really talk about an individual who literally changed the face of a franchise. Through other great players and coaches around him, he really brought us into a renaissance period, a period of greatness and excellence. It would take me too long to go through all of his records that he has built on. He's an individual I think most of you did not have a chance to see how hard he worked. I think that's the component about Marvin, his connection with Peyton Manning, how those guys hooked up in 1998 and began the journey, and together set records that will be talked about many, many years from now. It was a process this week that we were talking through the possibilities. It's just very seldom that retirement lines up with a team where the player goes out at the same time. That's something that I hope for. I wanted to make sure Marvin and I had a chance to talk one last time this afternoon and really thoroughly go through a lot of different things together, and that was important to me. I know that he wishes to go forward and pursue opportunities in the National Football League, something that we honor and are granting his release. As I said, that he's an individual where there will be time for the ceremonial aspects to his greatness and what's he's meant to the league and what he meant to this team. That isn't today, but we still wanted to take the opportunity to really reflect and honor his greatness and all the things that he has done. He and I had a great conversation and had a chance to reflect on a lot that has happened over these 12-plus years. I really wish him well, and we'll be looking forward to the day he goes into the Hall of Fame and goes into the Ring of Honor in our stadium."
COLTS OWNER AND CEO JIM IRSAY (on how his conversations with WR-Marvin Harrison went today)
"It's an unusual situation. One that if you're blessed enough you'll go through it a couple of times in your life as an owner, even though it's difficult when it's at the end. Really it was something where he and I were going to talk everything through one last time. Bill (Polian) and Tom Condon had conversations and we had talked internally. It was just getting right up against the moment and me having an opportunity in really talking to him in terms of past, present and future, and him doing the same. That's really what it was about."
COLTS OWNER AND CEO JIM IRSAY (on the signature moment with him and WR-Marvin Harrison)
"I would say maybe the one (catch) in New England. There are so many of those moments, but certainly in the right corner of the end zone on the tip ball. I think it was Sunday or Monday night. Obviously, playing against some great rivals and that was Marvin. He was so unique. He would do these great things and just flip the ball to the official and walk off the field. That's something I always admired about him. To see Marvin was really a throwback. I know how much admiration Raymond Berry had for him because of that reason. I think 50 years from now, 80 years from now, his name is going to be talked about with the records with Peyton (Manning) and all those sorts of things."
COLTS OWNER AND CEO JIM IRSAY (on if the offer to WR-Marvin Harrison changed at any point)
"It was really saying this guy goes way back with me. It wasn't involved in a detail thing about would you take this restructured offer or not. It was really just trying to talk through with him the whole decision- making process. From some aspects emotionally it's never over till it's over, and he's still a Colt for one more 24 hours. It was just that opportunity to hear him through in every way."