In the city of Indianapolis for this entire week, there is going to be a ton of talk about a little game that will be played this Sunday, February 5th at the Lucas Oil Stadium between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. That game is the Super Bowl. I am sure that the last thing that the fans of the home team of the great city of Indianapolis, the Colts, needed to see was their bitter rival, the Patriots in the Super Bowl at the time that their city hosts it. Well, at least a Manning will be on the other team. Oh, that’s Eli Manning.
However, the elephant in the room that seems to be a pall over the festivities is the discussion of the future of the OTHER , more famous Manning, Eli’s older brother, Peyton Manning. Peyton is the incredible QB of the Indianapolis Colts, and has been since he was drafted by the Colts’ then GM, Bill Polian in 1998 as the #1 pick overall in that year’s draft. Most fans know Peyton’s accomplishments, including one Super Bowl ring, and multiple years of at least 12 wins.
Peyton has solidified himself as one of the best to ever put on a uniform. However, prior to the 2011/12 season, Peyton Manning not only signed a 5 year 90 million dollar contract, but he went on to have two neck surgeries. One was in May, and then the other was in July. The one in July was a spinal fusion between his C6 and C7, and they used bone grafts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7McTR03X2M
My editor Eric Gargiulo wrote an excellent blog about possible landing spots for Peyton Manning called http://camelclutchblog.com/ten-destinations-for-peyton-manning/ . They are all good possibilities. I was wondering at first why the Jets weren’t listed, but then I thought “Would Peyton want to play for the Jets?” I kind of doubt he would want to play for that mess. My issue is that Peyton would be a hot free agent if it was definite that Peyton Manning could play , and was 100% healthy.
Let’s face facts here. He has gone through neck fusion surgery. Per Jason Cole’s article, on Yahoo Sports, the nerves in his arms have yet to regenerate. Now mind you, I am not only going by this one article. Cole and his “sources” are not the Colts’ doctors. They are not treating Peyton. I am just speculating and giving my own opinion. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=Air0V9cG5j6q5JoR4yxIGeZDubYF?slug=jc-cole_peyton_manning_colts_neck_surgery_jim_irsay013012.
Neck surgery , especial this cervical/spinal decompression surgery that Peyton had is nothing to fool around with. This is also Peyton’s third surgery in 19 months. Waiting for the nerves to recover, and “fire” normally and help the muscles work again is very touch and go. There is also muscle atrophy as well. It could take ANOTHER six months for Peyton to fully get everything (nerves, velocity on ball, muscles, etc) back. I honestly wonder if it is worth it to him at this point. Peyton could learn about what has happened to former wrestlers who have had similar, and more extensive neck fusion surgeries like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rhyno, and Edge. Much like these wrestlers, provided he gets clear for contact, and some team signs him, when Peyton starts getting hit, and sacked, that neck of his will tighten up. Edge said in past interviews that every time he took a bump or got hit, his neck would clamp up, and in his feud with Batista, when Batista gave him the Batista bomb, Edge said he lost feeling in his left arm. I am not so sure, even though I am not a big fan, I would not like to see Peyton leave games with no strength in his arms.
Peyton loves the game. That is known. However, he has twins now, and he has accomplished so much in the sport. He has so many fans that love him, and has done it all in the NFL. He has gone to countless Pro Bowls, been to two Super Bowls, won one. He has countless NFL records. He will walk into Canton in five years once he files the retirement papers. Peyton’s done so many commercials. I still remember his tag line “Cut that meat.” He has done it all. If he decided to end his career, it would be understandable.
Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay have to make a decision together as to Peyton’s future with the team. The writing appears to be on the wall as far as what will happen, but we fans won’t know till the Colts announce it. It is evident that Andrew Luck will be the #1 pick by the Colts, even though Robert Griffin III is definitely in play. As for what Peyton will do, if he is released as expected, that remains to be seen. If the rumors and innuendo is true that he won’t be able to play anymore, it will be a shame. I never like seeing an athlete lose his or her career to injury. It totally broke my heart to see my beloved Edge announce nearly 10 months ago that he was forced to retire to a neck injury, so I can imagine how sad a Colts fan would be to hear that Peyton’s career would end due to injury.
Part 1 of Peyton Manning’s ESPN Interview: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7524579
Part 2 of Peyton Manning’s ESPN Interview: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7524729
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead