INDIANAPOLIS – Colts Owner and C.E.O. Jim Irsay and veteran wide receiver Marvin Harrison spoke on Tuesday and when talks ended, Harrison's separation from the franchise became reality.
Harrison is departing the team, his career spanning 13 seasons, 190 games, a host of numbers that stand proudly among the all-time great receivers and a with a multitude of victories and memories for Colts fans.
Harrison joined the Colts as a first-round pick in the 1996 draft, the 19th overall selection. Harrison totaled a franchise-best 1,102 receptions for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns. His 190 games are fourth-most in Colts history. He participated in 118 Colts victories, second only to Unitas (132) in the franchise's 56 seasons.
Irsay addressed the departure of Harrison in a press conference with the media Tuesday. Highlights of Irsay's remarks follow:
COLTS OWNER AND CEO JIM IRSAY
(Opening Remarks on the departure of Marvin Harrison)
"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."
(on how his conversation with Marvin Harrison went Tuesday)
"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.
(more on his conversation with Marvin Harrison Tuesday)
"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."
(on the signature moment when he thinks of 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."
MARVIN HARRISON CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS
*Holds franchise receiving records with 1,102 receptions for 14,580 yards and 128 TDs.
*Holds franchise mark with 59 100 games and 90 career games with touchdown receptions.
*Ranks 2nd in NFL career receptions, 4th in receiving yardage, 5th in touchdown receptions, tied for 2nd in 100 games and 9th in total touchdowns.
*Ranks first in club history with receptions in 190 consecutive games, while streak of 190 consecutive games with a reception stands as the longest NFL streak to begin a career and second overall behind Jerry Rice (274 games).
*Harrison has club-record nine 3 -TD receiving games and 29 multiple-TD receiving games, while 29 multiple-TD games rank tied for 4th in NFL history.
*Became first player in NFL history with eight consecutive 10 -touchdown reception seasons (1999-06), snapping Rice's mark of seven consecutive seasons (1989-95).
*Tied Rice's NFL record with eight consecutive 80 -reception seasons (1999-06), and Harrison is the only NFL player with 100 receptions in four consecutive years (1999-02), including an NFL-record 143 receptions in 2002.
*Is the only NFL receiver to produce consecutive 1,500-plus-yard seasons (2001-02), and his three career 1,500-yard seasons ranks only behind Rice's four.
*In 158 games together, Harrison caught 953 passes for 12,766 yards and 112 TDs from QB-Peyton Manning, the most completions, yards and touchdowns by a QB-WR tandem in NFL history.
*Was selected to eight career Pro Bowls (1999-06).
*Ranks 3rd in Colts history and 1st among non-kickers with 778 career points (995, K-Mike Vanderjagt; 783, K-Dean Biasucci).
*Led the team in TDs in 11 of 13 seasons, while he led the club in receptions and receiving yards in nine of 13 seasons.
*Has multiple receptions in 184 of 190 career games.
*Has most receptions over first 7 (665), 8 (759), 9 (845), 10 (927), 11 (1,022) and 13 (1,102) seasons of career of any NFL receiver.