CANTON, Ohio – Jim Irsay will get things underway on Saturday night at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
With Marvin Harrison leading off the induction ceremony, it will be Irsay presenting one of the game's greatest receivers into football lore.
Irsay has spoken with Peyton Manning in preparing for Saturday night's presentation.
"Peyton and I had some long conversations about Marvin," Irsay said earlier this week. "Obviously, I go back even before Peyton was even here and remember being in the locker room in 1996 when he came in. We thought, 'Hey, this guy at least will be a heck of a punt returner and he has got quicks. At least he'll be able to do punts for us.' But again, going to talk about his work ethic – what a craftsman he was, what an artist and how hard he worked. How he never ever got tired. He was just so special. It's going to be just an honor to be there because again, I really believe his specialness is very unique. I think there are some rooms, some floors higher in the Hall of Fame that are a little bit higher. I think he's in that type of floor. He was such a rare player of greatness. Quite frankly, as you guys know, he couldn't be covered. They had to change the rules to make sure some of our competitors were holding him, I won't mention who and when, but Bill Polian could tell you now I'm sure if you asked him. Anyway, I'm just going to talk about his work ethic, and again, God gave him those gifts but his gift back to God is how hard he worked. Again, you can sum up Marvin's career and what he thinks about playing football in the NFL by him saying, 'You pay me to practice, Sunday is free.' And that's the way he did it."
Back in February, Harrison touched on why Irsay was presenting him. The Colts were the lone organization Harrison played for in his 13 NFL seasons.*
"I'm more happy for the Colts organization and the City of Indianapolis," Harrison said earlier this year when he found out he was going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I'm so thankful and honored that I will be able to represent them both in the Hall of Fame. I want to personally thank Jim Irsay for drafting me in 1996. He promised me a Super Bowl (and) we can now say, 'mission accomplished.'"
Once Harrison's enshrinement ceremony is complete on Saturday, him and Irsay will turn their attention to Tony Dungy's time to call Canton home.
Dungy will be inducted seventh among the 2016 class on Saturday night, capping a night very few organizations can say they've ever experienced.
"Obviously, Tony means so much to us going in," Irsay said at the Colts' night practice in Anderson earlier this week. "I can remember when we had to make a directional change on (former head coach) Jim Mora, and immediately calling Tony Dungy up when I knew he was available even before I talked to (former GM) Bill Polian about it. Had a long, long conversation with him and knew he was our guy. Then, talked to Bill, and Bill talked to him and agreed, and the rest is history.
"We have two great Colts going into the Hall of Fame and just telling people out (in Anderson) how special that is, how rare that is. We have two going in, two deserving, great horseshoe guys. It's going to be really exciting."