INDIANAPOLIS — When Peyton Manning formally announced his retirement earlier this offseason, he did so — in two different settings — by doing what he does best: telling stories.
He had tales about the coaches he played for, the players he played with, and even those in the building not necessarily involved in the on-field product with whom he interacted on a daily basis.
So when Colts owner Jim Irsay learned he was being honored with introducing the great Marvin Harrison when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio, it was No. 18 who was at the top of the list when it came to providing Irsay some "keen insight" into the great No. 88.
Irsay tweeted about the experience this week:
On the field, there's assuredly tons of stories Manning could share about Harrison. After all, the two form the most productive quarterback-to-wide receiver duo in NFL history, with 114 career touchdowns thrown between them from 1998 to 2008.
But what many will likely be more interested in from Irsay and Manning are their recollections of Harrison away from the field, where the Syracuse native and eight-time Pro Bowler led an extremely private life outside of the public eye.
Upon hearing the news of his induction into the Hall of Fame, Harrison's first call was to Irsay.
"I'm more happy for the Colts organization and the City of Indianapolis," Harrison said in February. "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.'"
That Super Bowl, of course, came Feb. 4, 2007, when the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears, 29-17, in Miami. Harrison had five receptions for 59 yards in that matchup.
2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalist - MARVIN HARRISON
For his career — all 13 seasons of which were spent in Indianapolis — Harrison collected 1,102 receptions for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns. Upon his retirement following the 2008 season, his career receptions mark was second all-time in league history, and his 143-catch season in 2002 represented the most catches in a single year in NFL history.
"I cannot tell you how grateful and honored I am to be asked by one of pro football's all-time greatest players — Marvin Harrison — to present him into the Hall of Fame," Irsay said in March, when Colts.com reported he was going to present Harrison into the Hall of Fame. "Marvin provided innumerable exciting, jaw-dropping memories for me, and presenting him into the Hall is very humbling."
There will be an obvious Colts theme Aug. 6 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, when Harrison and former head coach Tony Dungy will each be inducted and given their gold jackets and Hall of Fame busts.
Then, the next night, the Colts and the Green Bay Packers square off in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton to kick off the 2016 preseason schedule.