Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Peyton Manning visited his buddies in the press on Thursday, and he revealed that his rehab progress on his neck has slowed and that it still hasn’t fused. He didn’t say this, but you have to wonder if his career (and not just his season) is in doubt because of his neck problems.
Which leads us to an interesting point made by Manning when talking about his new contract (you’ll recall he signed a five-year $90 million extension in the offseason). Considering Manning is due a $28 million bonus in February, the Colts might have to make an awfully interesting decision about whether they should keep Manning around.
"It's a one-year deal with a four-year extension, if you will," Manning said, via the Indianapolis Star. "I wasn't healthy when I signed the contract and if I'm not healthy in February, I think it's fair for the Colts to be able to make their decision there.”
Manning said there wasn’t a timeline for his rehab and recovery, but he’ll have another “checkpoint” in December to see how his neck is healing. Manning said he’d like to practice this year -- he also said he’d like to play in a game, but there’s almost no chance of that happening -- and part of the reason for that is so the Colts can evaluate him.
"(The Colts have) a right to know where you are physically and what your health is,” Manning said. “Everybody has decisions to be made.”
Can you imagine the Colts releasing Manning if his progress isn’t going as rapidly as everybody would like? Well, think about this. What if the Colts have the first pick of next year’s draft where they could take Andrew Luck. You could say, “Well, that’d be perfect for Luck. Assuming Manning is healthy, Luck can sit at his feet for a couple years and learn how to be an NFL quarterback.” But what if the Colts don’t want to be on the hook for paying tens of millions of dollars to TWO quarterbacks?
Would they be willing to cut Manning loose in favor of Luck? It certainly is not out of the realm of possibility. Which is why Manning’s next checkpoint in early December will be so crucial -- for his own future and for that of his team.
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