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Some Colts fans aren’t ready to let Manning leave. They may not have a choice. He will turn 36 in late March and the team that just went 2-14 must decide whether to pay him a $28 million roster bonus on March 8 or let him become a free agent.

“It would be incredibly sad to see him go and I’d hate to be Irsay. I want him to stay,” said Keith Harden, a 51-year-old Indy native who was wearing a Reggie Wayne jersey. “No, I don’t think it’s hurt his (Manning‘s) image. I think he’s fighting to stay, and I like that.”

Those close to Manning insist he is healthy and will be ready to play this fall.

“He is sound, he can take a hit, he can certainly play in a football game,” Condon said. “How effective will he be? Probably not as effective as he would be in two to three months.”

Irsay has repeatedly said the decision about Manning’s future will be based on health, not money, and he has said he doesn’t want to risk exposing Manning to a long-term injury.

Complicating matters is that the Colts hold the No. 1 overall draft pick and they are expected to select either Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Baylor’s Robert Griffin III as Manning’s successor.

Having two high-paid quarterbacks wouldn’t just be costly, it could stifle the rookie’s growth. And Luck says he wants to play right away.

Despite Irsay’s public statements, the big question is whether Manning is coming back..

The city’s most powerful celebrity and the Colts‘ fun-loving owner engaged in a public spat last week when Manning complained about the dour atmosphere at the team complex following the ouster of coach Jim Caldwell and a host of assistants. Irsay responded by calling his quarterback a “politician,” then tried to mend fences with a joint statement issued a week ago. The hope was that it wouldn’t spill over into Super Bowl week.

Instead, the story only picked up steam in a tit-for-tat between the two.

On Monday, Irsay said he would not talk this week about Manning. The next day, Manning told reporters his recovery was on schedule and there was no plan to retire. The owner responded by saying he would wait until next month to make a decision about the bonus.

That was followed by Thursday’s bizarre late-night fireworks and there’s no telling when it might end.

While most players, coaches and visitors will depart Indianapolis on Monday, the questions about Manning and his future will continue to linger.

“Jimmy and Peyton have had a strong relationship for a really long time,” Condon said. “They’ve been great friends besides the business relationship. But this is a tough time, there is potential that you could be separated from a team he’s been a part of for a long time.”