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Tag:Peyton Manning
Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:50 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 11:48 am
 

Report: Manning had 4th surgery, could need more

Manning

By Josh Katzowitz

It’s generally been reported that Peyton Manning has had three procedures on his neck in the past two years -- which caused him to miss all of last season. But Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks is reporting that Manning actually had a fourth surgery sometime between May 23 and Sept. 9 of last year.

Making matters a little more opaque, Banks also reports that Manning potentially has developed bone spurs in his neck that the Colts believe will require another surgery (and possibly, gulp, another fusion surgery).


The unreported procedure occurred last summer in Chicago and it was a follow-up to Manning’s initial neck surgery. Since this occurred during the lockout, the club physicians only had very little contact with Manning.

Manning's Offseason Saga
"I wouldn't have anything to say about all of that, one way or another,” Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, told SI on Wednesday.

According to Banks’ source, Manning badly wanted to return for the Week 16 Houston game last year, and he participated in an “organized and fully-scripted 30-play practice session” the week before in front of former executive Bill Polian and former coach Jim Caldwell.

More from Banks:
Polian was said to be initially frustrated by the extent and scope of the workout, which he then viewed as a surprising attempt to play in a meaningless situation at the end of a long and defeat-filled season in Indianapolis. League sources say the former leader of the Colts front office was taken off-guard by the intensity and pace of the 30-play session that Manning took part in. Polian was under the belief that it would be conducted at walk-through speed, but instead it was held at typical regular-season tempo with scripted play calls.

A day later, league sources said, the team's strength and conditioning staff impressed upon Polian that it had wanted to see how Manning responded to a fast-paced and scripted workout, because his recovery was not going to reach the next level if he simply continued to lob passes at a leisurely pace. And the practice was conducted from the 25-yard line on in because that was then roughly Manning's ceiling in terms of his arm strength throwing the ball.
Make sure to click the above SI.com link (or this one right here) to read more details about Manning’s past and his possible future. It's strong reporting and fascinating material.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:57 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 7:25 pm
 

Irsay 'would love to have' Manning back in Indy

'There’s no question it can be worked out if [Peyton] wants to be here.' - owner Jim Irsay (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

By all accounts, Indianapolis' first Super Bowl was a resounding success. From all the things the host committee could control (hotels, media, fans, transportation), to even those it couldn't (the weather), it was a seamless process that made last year's Super Bowl in Dallas seem more like Thunderdome.

If there was one blemish -- albeit a tiny one -- it was the after-school-special-style drama that played out between Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and team owner Jim Irsay. Whether the leaks about Manning's health were planned or not (we think they were), the fact remains: Peyton's neck injury is serious enough to raise questions about his future in Indy, and it's to the point where just about everybody figures he'll be playing elsewhere in 2012 (or whenever he's healthy).

Manning's Offseason Saga
Except that Irsay now seems amenable to keeping Peyton in Indy. (Seriously, we're almost at the point where Manning and the Colts are like that insane couple you know who break up every few months in a spectacularly public spectacle only to get back together days later to try to make it work. And because they really, really love each other.)

“We can make it work if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay told the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell Tuesday. “We’d be excited to have him back and finish his career with us.

“I want him to be able to make the choice. We would love to have him back here if he can get healthy and we can look at doing a contract that reflects the uncertainty of the . . . healing process with the regeneration of the nerve.’’

Manning, 35, missed the 2011 season while he recovered from multiple neck surgeries. The Colts went 2-14, Irsay subsequently cleaned house, and now, with a new front office, coaching staff and the first overall pick, looks to rebuild a franchise that Peyton led to one championship, 11 playoff appearances, eight 12-plus-win seasons, and a 141-67 record.

“There’s no question it can be worked out if he wants to be here,’’ Irsay, who has concerns over Manning’s long-term health, told the Star. “It can work if he wants to come back and can get back to being the old Peyton.’’

Of course, this won't preclude the Colts from taking a quarterback with that top pick. And it also means that Manning, should he want to stay, won't be in line for the $28 million bonus that's due March 8. Irsay expects to meet with Peyton in the next week, and as Chappell notes, the $28 million bonus activates the final four years and $90 million of his current contract.

In light of Irsay's comments, here are Manning's choices: a) don't budge off the $28 million and expect the Colts to release him (there will be plenty of interest in Manning's services in free agency, no matter his current health status), or b) rework his contract and stay with the Colts where he'll most likely serve as a mentor to Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.

It still seems like a long shot that Manning would return to the Colts, primarily because if he thinks he can play at a high level for 2-3 more years, he won't get that opportunity in Indy if the new franchise quarterback is standing over his shoulder.

The Star's Bob Kravitz guesses that Manning won't "be thrilled" when the owner and the quarterback eventually talk because any scenario that includes Peyton and the Colts in the same sentence will also mean that he'll have to take a hefty paycut to stay in town.

"The franchise looks good here either way," Kravitz wrote Tuesday night. "If he leaves, then the Colts can say, 'Well, it’s on Peyton. That was his choice.’' If he returns, it’s going to be on the Colts’ terms, and while Manning comes off as the ultimate hero, the Colts and Irsay get some of that reflected glory."

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Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:04 pm
 

Wayne on Pats: 'Who wouldn't want to play there?'

Wayne's career in Indy may be over but he'll play somewhere (New England?) in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Way back in August, days after the lockout had ended and before any of the 32 teams had their hopes and dreams crushed, Colts owner Jim Irsay asked veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, in the last year of his contract, to be patient. There would be no new deal during the season.

"At this point," Irsay said at the time, "I don't anticipate that sort of thing, an extension or anything like that. We always talk about next year, where we're going to be with the (salary) cap, what type of situation we're going to be in because it's going to come quickly. We prepare for next year whether it's Pierre (Garcon), or Robert and Reggie."

The Colts stumbled to a 2-14 record without Peyton Manning, who along with Wayne, appears to have played his last game in Indy. To Wayne's credit, he never complained publicly or entertained thoughts of holding out, even saying last summer that "I'm a Colt, what else I'm gonna be?"


On Friday, ESPN's Josina Anderson asked Wayne about his NFL future. He doesn't sound much different in February than he did in July. 

"All I know is the Colts," he said. "That is where I want to be. I have been there 11 years and I would prefer to end my career a Colt. 

"However, in due time those feelings could subside. I know one thing, my phone works. I do have service and every last bar on it and their number has not come across it yet. I haven't heard anything from [the Colts] yet, so maybe I am not as important on the chain of command as I should be. 

"But either way, I'm cool," Wayne continued. "I have nothing bad to say about the Colts. The Colts took me in and made me a millionaire. I had nothing before I got here but a bunch of invoices. So either way I am still good, and I will still be friends with all of my teammates. But I am still at a point with all of this Peyton stuff, and this Andrew Luck stuff that I can't be all the way worrying just about that. My phone hasn't rung yet. It's only fair I worry about number 87 first. When I'm signed, then I can weigh in more." 

We've been saying for almost two months that Wayne's future could be tied to Manning's. Wherever Peyton ends up, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that Wayne won't be far behind. (This week, the Dolphins are the favorites to land Manning; Wayne went to the U. And if Manning goes to the Jets, it makes sense that Wayne would follow him there too.)

But should the duo go their separate ways after playing together for a decade, the Patriots would be a logical landing spot for the wide receiver. Here's what we wrote on December 22 about possible destinations for Wayne in 2012:

"1. New England. Consider it payback for Adam Vinatieri, but more importantly, it’ll give Tom Brady the deep threat Chad Ochocinco never developed into. Wayne’s game is built on precise route-running, which is imperative in Peyton Manning’s offense (and Brady's). And it’s something Ochocinco never had to worry about in Cincinnati."

Wayne isn't a burner (he's 33 and an 11-year veteran), but he knows how to get open on short, medium and deep routes, something Ochocinco struggled with from the moment he arrived in Foxboro.

And while Wayne-to-the-Pats was nothing more than speculation, it also makes sense.  Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest, now an NFL Network analyst, has spoken to Wayne about relocating to New England.

“It came up in the conversation would he ever want to play for the Patriots,” McGinest said according to the Boston Herald. “He smiled and said, ‘Who wouldn’t want to play there?’

“If it could have worked with Chad (Ochocinco), it would have been good. It didn’t. I just think (Tom Brady) has a lot of weapons, but he can always use that stretch-the-field receiver," McGinest said. "When they had Randy (Moss) there, it really made it tough for teams to stop them. Reggie Wayne is somebody who could stretch the field. He has great hands, he’s a professional who could pick up the system. Having another big-time receiver like that would put it over the top.”

And that was our point back in December. Ochocinco has been a disaster, Wes Welker is a possession receiver not a deep threat, and the passing offense is built around the tight ends.

ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith points out that Bill Belichick is a longtime Wayne fan, too.

“I can’t say enough about Reggie Wayne,” Belichick said during the 2009 season. “That guy is the best receiver we cover every year and it seems like he just keeps getting better.”

The Patriots have a history of taking guys who regularly torch them. That's how Welker ended up in New England in 2007.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 9:01 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 11:12 am
 

Would Peyton to 'Skins only be about the money?

It's early, but the race for Manning appears to be down to three teams. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

CBSSSports.com's Will Brinson did the heavy lifting Friday, handicapping the possible landing spots for Peyton Manning in 2012. No matter who's making the list, the Dolphins, Redskins and Jets seem to be the early frontrunners.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann is on record saying that the 'Skins don't need Manning but that puts him squarely in the minority.

The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg has made it his mission to transcribe every Manning-to-Washington-related television or radio conversation, and on Thursday, it was ESPN's Chris Mortensen's turn. He was talking about -- shocker -- Manning, the Redskins came up, as did Theismann's objections.

“Well, I love Joe, but I think that’s just silly,” Mortensen said via Steinberg. “I mean, if we were in the same room, I’m sure we’d have this debate anyway. Why would that be a horrific idea? I think he alluded to that being a band-aid. Well, listen, they need to win. They’re in a very competitive division in the NFC East. And if you’ve got Mike Shanahan, who’s an offensive mind that certainly Peyton Manning would have high regard for, and you’ve got an owner who will go out and get players around you, two or three more players…."

Mortensen says a lot of things, not all of them accurate, but he's right about Manning's regard for Shanahan. Steinberg dug up this three-year-old quote from the Denver Post:

“I would be hard-pressed to find a better offensive mind that Mike Shanahan,” Manning said in February 2009. “I had him [during the Pro Bowl], and that was a special week. They fired Phil Fulmer in Tennessee and, you know, just be careful. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Now Coach Dungy retired. But I think there’s a lot of good football coaches out there, and I think Mike Shanahan is one of the best of them.”

So there's that. Whether that's enough to entice Manning to play for the Redskins is another matter entirely.

The Post's Sally Jenkins writes that "Shanahan is the only head coach in the market for Manning’s services who can say he’s won two Super Bowls, and knows how to work with a fully formed Hall of Famer. He can also say he has made real strides in rebuilding, despite the Redskins’ record."

As for the former, most critics would point to John Elway, not Shanahan, as the reason for the Broncos' two Super Bowls. And the latter is a stretch by any measure; maybe the Redksins have made incremental improvements under Shanahan but let's be honest: he wasn't hired to take a four-win team to the heights of 6-10 and 5-11.

John Feinstein, Jenkins' colleague at the Post, doesn't share her optimism. In fact, he's of the opinion (like a lot of people), that there's only one reason Manning would come to Washington. To quote Randy Moss: straight cash, homey.

“You’re 36 years old, you’ve got a major neck problem, you probably only have so many hits left in you," Feinstein said recently during an radio appearance. "Why would you go to a team with a questionable at best offensive line, where the guy who’s most important to you sat out the last four games because he tested positive for recreational drugs, an organization that is constantly in flux?

“Other than Dan Snyder going into his wallet and giving him guaranteed money where other people are more likely to give him an incentive-laden contract, I can’t think of a single reason why Peyton Manning would want to come here," Feinstein continued. "...The only reason Peyton Manning would come to Washington would be if the money was so much better than anybody else. Because no matter how much these guys make, no matter how much they have made, it is still about money, not only because they want to put it in their bank account, but because it’s an ego thing like it is with everybody.”

The Redskins have been much better about avoiding high-priced soon-to-be-washout free agents in recent years. History suggests they should steer clear of Manning, too. We just wonder if Snyder's impulsiveness will get the best of him.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:23 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2012 9:21 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Haley a good fit in Pittsburgh?

Revisiting the week that was in Indianapolis: Super Bowl XLVI. (Getty Images)

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Ah, the NFL offseason. When every franchise's hopes spring eternal and stuff. Except the Steelers, who are doomed -- DOOMED, WE SAY! -- with the addition of Todd Haley as offensive coordinator. Actually, we don't say that; Ryan says that.

To calm him down, we brought on Lance Zierlein noted Houston sports savant (The Chronicle, Houston radio), co-owner of TheSidelineView.com and son of former Steelers offensive line coach Larry Zierlein to break down the hire.

Ryan and Will then fight about Haley's addition and debate who's the favorite to land Peyton Manning in 2012. They also hit all the latest NFL news fit to print.

(Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes? And if you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.)


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Posted on: February 10, 2012 9:48 am
 

Handicapping where Peyton Manning plays in 2012

Anyone else see what stadium they're in? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

This is the season of Peyton Manning rumors. We hear he has "a noodle arm." We hear he cannot "throw the ball to the left." We think there's no way he could play for the Colts again after all the drama leading up to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. But what do we know?

Nothing, at least when it comes to Manning's future. In the interest of trying to figure out what uniform -- if any -- Peyton will play, let's handicap the race for one of the all-time greats in 2012.

Anything and everything is in play, except for teams that already have what we'll loosely term a "franchise quarterback." The Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, Texans, Chargers, Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Lions, Bears, Saints, Falcons, Panthers and Rams all have their guy.

The Jaguars, Raiders, Vikings, Buccaneers and Broncos have very recent first-round investments in quarterbacks and aren't likely to pursue Manning. The Bills have a lot invested in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Peyton Manning isn't going to play in Buffalo. It's like Cleveland. Ain't happening.

That leaves the 49ers, Titans, Chiefs, Jets, Seahawks, Colts, Redskins, Cardinals and Dolphins as possible landing spots. We'll break down the scenarios in our order of likelihood and provide actual available odds from Bovada.lv and/or the Vegas percentages from RJ Bell of Pregame.com.

Longshots

49ers: The Niners could perceive Manning as the guy to put them over the top. But Jim Harbaugh says he's got "their guy" in incumbent-but-still-free-agent quarterback Alex Smith. Maybe he means it. Or maybe he's just doing good public relations. It would be a fascinating fit for a number of reasons (Andrew Luck's old coach anyone?) though.
Vegas Odds: 2%


Chiefs: Matt Cassel isn't the long-term answer for anyone, but he did make a Pro Bowl (thanks, schedule-makers!) and he is Scott Pioli's guy. Plus, Romeo Crennel -- a defensive coordinator -- is from the previous regime as well. Oh, and this is Patriots Midwest. Makes no sense.
Vegas Odds: 1.5%


Titans: This would make sense ... except the Titans have already invested in a veteran (Matt Hasselbeck, three-year deal) and a rookie (Jake Locker, first round in 2011). Plus, they came out and said they're not chasing him.
Vegas Odds: 1.5%

Jets

Vegas Odds: 11%
Actual Line: 5/1
Everyone will tell you the Jets are the perfect fit, as they're "just one piece away." This couldn't be further from the truth: the Jets are "several pieces away" at least. Some of those pieces are on defense and some of those piece are on offense. Quarterback is one of the pieces they need, but plugging Peyton onto Rex Ryan's roster wouldn't even make them the favorite to win the AFC East, unless he was 100 percent healthy.

There are also people that will tell Eli vs. Peyton in New York is the ultimate storyline. While that's true, that doesn't mean it's something either of those guys want to deal with for the length of their current contracts. You saw what happened at the Super Bowl, right? Every question pointed to Eli was about Peyton's neck and his recovery ... even though Eli was playing for a Super Bowl. It would be magnified in the Big Apple.

And don't think Manning doesn't see a parallel to Brett Favre with the Jets option either. Look at the way he's handled his business thus far; looking like Favre is the last thing he wants.

Seahawks

Vegas Odds: N/A
Actual Line: N/A
Everyone's sleeping on Pete Carroll! That terrifies me to no end. Look, there are plenty of reasons why this doesn't make sense. There's no guaranteed running game (Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett are both free agents), the offensive line's young and injury-prone thus far and Sidney Rice is the best receiving option.

But the defense is good in Seattle, the coach is enthusiastic, and as we note with the Cardinals below, the NFC West is a much better path to the Super Bowl than a lot of other spots. There are also plenty of offensive skill-position guys available in free agency, so it's possible the Seahawks could convince Peyton to take snaps in Seattle and then let him play pied piper for other talented players.

Retirement

Vegas Odds: 20%
Actual Line: N/A
We have to talk about it, you know? Bovada's not offering a betting line on this, but this is the most-likely scenario according to RJ Bell, as Vegas' odds give it a 20 percent chance.

I don't buy it ... but only for this year. Even if -- hypothetically speaking -- there are still reports about Manning only being able to sling his noodle to the right side of the field when March 13 comes around and -- somehow -- no one signs him, he'll keep rehabbing the entire season, getting healthy and will get a call from someone with an injured quarterback midway through the year. Last year there was a waiver scramble for Kyle Orton and the Bears actually considering calling Favre.

Manning would get a job, worst case, by November. Which is precisely why someone like the Redskins would go ahead sign him anyway, regardless of how healthy he is.

Colts

Vegas Odds: 14%
Actual Line: 3/1
Here's a theory I meant to throw out there during Super Bowl week: Jim Irsay and Peyton are punking everyone. They're having fun with everyone by acting like they hate each other, even though they have a master plan in place. Irsay will not pick up Manning's option on March 8, allowing him to become a free agent. But then Manning will re-sign with the Colts as a free agent, allowing them to limit the cap damage his contract does. He would still have $10.4 million in dead cap space if they don't pick up the option, which still gives them something like $18 million to work with.

The Colts can make his new contract cap-friendly and incentive-laden, and let Peyton finish his career as a Colt. They can also draft Andrew Luck or, if Luck decides to make a stink about playing behind Peyton, trade the pick or draft Robert Griffin, III.

There are reasons why this makes no sense: the actual disdain between Irsay and Peyton, the distraction that Peyton's situation was to Eli in the Super Bowl, Peyton's unwillingness to take less money to play for the same team and the Colts need to rebuild all the way, to name a few. But we're still throwing it out there.

Cardinals

Vegas Odds: 3%
Actual Line: 2.5/1

Vegas doesn't like this option, but it makes a lot of sense to me. They need to do work on the offensive line, but those problems can be addressed through free agency and the draft. Arizona has Larry Fitzgerald, a top-five wideout in the NFL, who somehow managed to catch 170 passes for 2,548 yards with John Skelton, Max Hall and Kevin Kolb under center the last two years. They have Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams in the backfield and a defense that came on strong at the end of 2011.

The Cardinals also play in a division that's conquerable right away; the NFC West might pose the path of least resistance when it comes to obtaining a Super Bowl. Arizona's lacked a franchise quarterback since Kurt Warner retired two years ago, and don't think Fitzgerald wouldn't welcome this move with open arms.

The Kurt Warner parallel here is perfect for Manning, even if Warner's path to Arizona was much different than Manning's would be.

Shanahan and Peyton together: What could go wrong? (Getty Images)

Redskins

Vegas Odds: 17%
Actual Line: 2.5/1
No surprise here, but Vegas likes the Redskins a lot. After all, it's the Redskins. They throw big money at the biggest names, and no name in the history of free agency would be bigger than Peyton Manning. (I agree with Mike Freeman that Reggie White was a bigger free agent, but only because he wasn't an unknown. But Peyton's a bigger "name.")

The Redskins also think they're one piece away from making a run in the NFC East, even though they lack a lot more than just a quarterback. Who's Peyton throwing to? Who's running the ball behind Peyton? Who's protecting Peyton? WHY IS KYLE SHANAHAN ROLLING HIM OUT TO THE RIGHT?

But seriously: Mike and Kyle Shanahan have an offensive system that is absolutely tailored to a guy like RG3. They should make their all-in move on draft day, hop the Browns and grab the Baylor quarterback. He would be an instant superstar in Shanny's system and, in my opinion, more effective than Peyton for Washington in 2012. Of course, having said all that, this is Dan Snyder's team. Don't count them out to grab Peyton.

Dolphins

Vegas Odds: 20%
Actual Line: 3/1
The Dolphins are everyone's favorite, and it makes good sense. They have a blossoming running game and with Manning under center, Reggie Bush would only be more effective. They have talented wide receivers, with Brandon Marshall holding No. 1 potential. (Davonne Bess ain't no slouch, and Bush is a fantastic receiving option as well.)

They have a franchise left tackle in Jake Long. They have a talented defense, with only a limited number of free agents that need re-signing. They have an owner who wants to sexy-up the offense and bring in celebrities to the stadium. No one is, um, sexier than Peyton Manning. (And Stephen Ross is "infatuated" with him, reportedly. Me-ow.)

Manning owns a condo in South Beach. He'd get to play his top rival, Tom Brady, twice a year. He'd also get a ridiculously easy schedule in 2012, as outside the AFC East the Dolphins play the Jaguars, Titans, Rams, Seahawks, Raiders, Texans, 49ers, Cardinals and Bengals.

Oh right, one more team: the Colts. In Indy. It's all a little too perfect.

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:16 pm
 

Report: Peyton can't 'throw the ball to his left'

Manning reportedly can't throw the ball to his left. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Wednesday evening, Ryan Wilson passed along a report that Peyton Manning's arm "is a noodle." That description was not complimentary. And neither is the the description of Manning from NFL Network's Michael Lombardi.
Manning's Offseason Saga

Lombardi, appearing with Bill Simmons on "The BS Report," said that Manning "can't throw the ball to his left." Ruh-roh.

"I've talked to people who have caught the ball for him," Lombardi said. "He can't throw the ball to his left. He can't throw the ball across his body because he doesn't feel it. People that catch the ball for him say that he doesn't really have the velocity on the ball yet."

Maybe Peyton's just not an ambi-thrower? Eh, that seems unlikely, since we have a reasonable sample size to back up Peyton's ability to throw all over the field. Instead maybe it's possible that the "noodle" report and the "can't throw the ball to his left" report are just really one and the same.

Right now, the strength of the nerves in Manning's arms simply aren't built up enough to throw the ball well. That's bad news for Manning's future, but the good news is that Manning has a month to continue rehabbing and prove that he's healthy enough to play in the NFL.

If he's shown improvement with the strength and velocity on his throws by March 8, it's possible Jim Irsay will keep him on the Colts. (It's possible. Just not likely.) And if Irsay doesn't keep Manning, then Peyton will have until March 13 to prove to teams he's improving enough to step in and produce in 2012.

Of course, if reports are still circulating about Manning's lack of arm strength at that time, it might not matter.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:37 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 2:51 pm
 

Indy writer on Peyton: His 'arm is a noodle'

Assuming he's healthy, all signs are pointing to Manning playing elsewhere in 2012. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Peyton Manning's change in fortune has been swift. Prior to the 2011 season, the general perception of what he meant to Indianapolis went something like this: he had singlehandedly saved the Colts from themselves, led them to a Super Bowl title in 2006, and his accomplishments were the currency that helped fund Lucas Oil Stadium.

NFL Offseason Begins

Now, days removed from Super Bowl XLVI -- hosted in Indianapolis by the way -- Manning has gone from patron saint of the city to public enemy No. 1. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration but not by much.

In the weeks prior to the Giants-Patriots matchup, Manning spoke with the Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz about his future with the Colts. The takeaway: Peyton had no intentions of retiring, even if his future wasn't with in Indy.

Owner Jim Irsay fired back, calling Manning "a politician," the two then issued a joint statement professing great love and admiration for one another. And that appeared to be that. Neither side spoke in specifics about their situations during Super Bowl Week … until Thursday evening, when Manning's camp leaked word that Manning had been medically cleared to play. This was news to everyone, including Irsay, who tweeted hours later that "Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts."

And it was at that point that the public, which had firmly supported Peyton basically since the moment he was drafted in 1998, began to view the franchise quarterback differently.

During a Wednesday appearance on "The Tony Kornheiser Show," Kravitz talked about the he-said, he-said back-and-forth posturing by both camps and what it means for the future of Peyton and the Colts.

"I think people are starting to sway over to Jim Irsay's side on this," Kravitz told Kornheiser. "… It's such a no-brainer. It's been a no-brainer since they went to 0-13. He could give them money to play football. Andrew Luck has got to play, okay? It's not even about the $35 million anymore. I mean, the guy's arm is a noodle, he can't throw like an NFL quarterback, and by March 8, there's no way of knowing whether he's going to be ready or not."

Wow. "Arm is a noodle" is nowhere near "been medically cleared to play." But that doesn't mean Manning won't be healthy at some point. It's just that nobody knows when.

“I know some of the people that have seen him throw,” Kravitz continued. "They say he’s not throwing like an NFL quarterback yet. That doesn’t mean he never will.  This thing is going to take time. Structurally, he’s sound. Structurally, he can take a hit.”

In response to a question from Kornheiser that "Manning hijacked the Super Bowl," Kravitz responded, "I'm quite sure [Peyton] did it deliberately.

"I lost a lot of -- I don't want to say respect for him -- but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and not say that his conversation with me was political and calculated, but there's no doubt in my mind that that story breaking Thursday night right around the time every single TV station is doing an exclusive on Andrew Luck (and, it turns out, blog).

"It comes out on Thursday night about six o'clock -- that doesn't come out unless the Peyton Manning camp wants it to come out. They're putting public pressure on Jim Irsay. It was calculated, it was deceptive, I didn't think it was a good time to do it. And, yes, he absolutely stole the Super Bowl. … I don't think there's any doubt that he stole some of the attention away from the Super Bowl.

"Look, that story was going to be there whether he opened his mouth or not, but he had given us every indication that he was going to go underground and only do his Gatorade and DirecTV thing and then shut the hell up," Kravitz said. "And he didn't do that. I thought that that was kind of smarmy. …

"You got Andrew Luck, just start over, I wish they could make the decision today or tomorrow and move on with it. Instead we're just … holding onto something that doesn't really exist."

So, yeah, if it wasn't obvious before, we think it couldn't be clearer now: Peyton's played his last game for the Colts, and Eli was the last Manning to play in Lucas Oil Stadium during the 2011 season.

Now the only question is if the Redskins are still interested in Manning's services. (Obvious answer: of course they are!)

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