ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --
That's not just how he plays; it's a personality trait. So with a fusillade of questions looming about his reaction to the statements of Colts owner Jim Irsay regarding his Indianapolis legacy, Manning sidestepped them as he would a pass rush.
He knew the game that a horde of media from Denver, Indianapolis and beyond wanted to play, and was unwilling to be drawn into it. This was going to be on his terms, and at his pace -- just like what he wants out of a game itself.
To the Denver media, he responded to a question about Irsay's comments in USA Today simply:
"I don't have any answer for you on that or any comment on any of that."
To the Indianapolis media at Colts headquarters listening on a conference call, he replied to a question on whether he wanted to comment on his relationship with Irsay with even fewer words:
"No. I can't, and I won't."
Irsay's comments could be construed as bulletin-board material -- that is, if the Broncos bought into that cliché. They believe they're beyond such simplistic motivational tactics.
"I would say it can motivate teams but it probably motivates those teams that are not hungry or anything like that," said cornerback
Harris and other Broncos admitted they weren't aware of Irsay's exact words -- not that they would have cared one way or the other.
"It doesn't even matter. He's not even a player," said defensive tackle
"He can't downplay anything that Peyton did. The guy rewrote the whole playbook, the stats, the history of it," Vickerson continued, with a laugh. "Come on, man."
The air is polluted with potential distractions, whether they involve pregame ceremonies or owner comments. But they're only a distraction if you allow them to be. Manning has not -- and, based on the past 15-plus seasons, he will not.
"He's preparing like he does every week," said wide receiver
And that's the priority. Not marinating over a former boss's comments, or dwelling on past accomplishments.
"Well, I guess my focus is on the Broncos trying to be successful," said Manning. "And I'm trying to do my job to help them."