ANDERSON, IN - JULY 29: Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay meets with the media during training camp at Anderson University on July 29, 2012 in Anderson, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
There was an interesting development last night during ESPN's broadcast of the Cardinals preseason games. Sometime during the broadcast (or during a break), ESPN's Chris Mortensen went on the air and suggested that Jim Irsay's tweet announcing that the Colts were actively looking to trade a "high" draft pick for a "SERIOUS Vet/Starter" was nothing more than Irsay messing with fans, media, and the overall Twitter universe.v.
To put it more bluntly, Mortensen supposedly said Irsay was lying. The trade talks were not happening. It's all one, big, stupid joke not unlike Irsay tweeting out last year that he was in Mississippi looking for Brett Favre to quarterback his team.
Now, in fairness to Mortensen, I did not see or hear these comments. This info came to me via Indianapolis Star editor Mark Alesia, via his Twitter handle. That said, unless Alesia is looking to get fired (something I highly doubt), it's safe to assume his tweet about Mortensen was accurate.
I posted the tweet on the blog, and right after I did so, reader Cobb78 made this comment:
Mortensen was indeed one of the primary recipients of news leaks from Bill Polian back when Polian ran the Colts front office. Peter King was the other. Mortensen is also a big reason why Polian is employed as an analyst for ESPN, Mortensen's home network for decades. It kind of makes you wonder if Mortensen's comments are the result of bitterness aimed at Irsay for firing his primary news leaker (Polian), or if Mort is simply parroting what Polian may have told him off camera.
Regardless of whether Mortensen is correct or not, it's enough to make people wonder if Irsay is pulling their leg.
@albertbreer Irsay messing with everyone/stirring s--- up is kind of the more likely thing here right?— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) August 24, 2012
One would certainly have to hope not. If Irsay's tweet was indeed a joke, that will certainly damage his already shaky reputation with the Colts fanbase and with media. If the owner is going to go on Twitter and act like any other trolling idiot, how can he expect media and fans not to act different? You don't see the Mara or the Rooney families doing that. That's one of many reasons why they are more respected than Irsay.
Personally, I'm inclined to think the news in the tweet was genuine. I don't think Irsay lied, or was joking. I've talked to several people, and there are indeed "trade winds blowing." Phil Richards of the Indianapolis Star has heard similar information.
From Richards, posted to his Indy Star blog last night:
A reliable source told me the Colts target is a cornerback. That could not be confirmed but there is a glaring need at left cornerback, opposite Jerraud Powers. Possibilities would include Dallas’ Mike Jenkins and Miami’s Vontae Davis.
Again, I'm hearing that they are trading for an offensive lineman. CBS' Jason La Confora also thinks it is an OL, though I don't think we share the same sources. Please note, I have no idea who the lineman is. The Colts and their potential trading partner have remained silent.
Names we can likely cross off are Maurice Jones-Drew, Mike Wallace, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Mike Jenkins. This leaves open the possibility of Dolphins corner Vontae Davis. I haven't seen anything out of the Dolphins camp that dismisses the possibility of a trade. Right now, that's all we have to go on.
It's also worth noting that, by going on Twitter and blabbing about this trade, the pressure is on Irsay and G.M. Ryan Grigson to get it done. You also have to wonder if their trading partner might have been a little annoyed at Irsay for announcing something publicly that was not official. This might be why, according to Phil Richards, the talks are "in a holding pattern at this point."
By speaking publicly about this, it's now incumbent on Irsay to deliver. If he doesn't, if the trade falls through, then that will hurt his reputation almost as much as if he just made the while thing up as a joke. Someone in his position does not announce something "SERIOUS" like this, and then not deliver. And please, don't give me the weak, "but he said deals like this fall through 9 times out of 10."
All the more reason to keep your mouth shut and not announce them on Twitter until they are finalized. Here's to hoping it goes through.