According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, two doctors have cleared Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to resume his normal football activities. To say the least, it's ground breaking news as many members of the football landscape have concluded that we have seen the last of Manning as a player. That finding seems less likely now.
Chris Mortensen gave us one very important key quote in his report:
“The sources said Watkins examined Manning recently in Los Angeles and concluded the stability in his neck would have allowed the quarterback to play this Sunday if the nerves in his arm had regenerated to a satisfactory performance level,"
In plain English, that means that Manning's neck is now up to par; his arm, however, is not there yet. Only time will tell if Manning will actually makes it back on the field as a player, but the news is a ray of hope for Manning, especially considering the Colts expected to have him back for the 2011 season.
The news also opens up a question that has been pushed aside by Manning's injury. Can he co-exist with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis?
The simple answer to that question is no. Quarterbacks are not generally drafted number one overall to sit on the bench for an entire season. It just doesn't happen. It's even rarer for us to see a quarterback taken first overall on a team that has a Hall of Fame, Super Bowl winning veteran as the man he's replacing.
The final damning piece of evidence against a Manning, Luck, Colts marriage is that Manning has historically insisted on taking nearly every snap with the first team offense in practice. It sounds innocent enough, but it's difficult to develop a young quarterback when he's getting nearly zero snaps with the offense he's expected to take over. Peyton Manning is a perfectionist, and I'm not seeing him accepting a role as mentor-to-the-future.
The best choice for the Colts and Peyton Manning would seem to be simply letting Manning go. The move it save the Colts millions of dollars, and it would allow Manning to seek out another team to end his Hall of Fame career with. The Colts could turn the move into a last tribute to Manning with a grand press conference, with Manning and Irsay saying their goodbyes as friends ending one of the greatest runs in NFL history. Hell, they could even put together a montage video for the conference.
As details continue to come out of Indianapolis about the future of Peyton Manning, we'll likely be able to get a proper feel for the situation. It's unlikely that Jim Irsay has made his final decision on Manning just yet, especially with new medical knowledge becoming available. The news of Manning's neck healing will likely kick off speculation on where he could land. The Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets have been a pair of names that have been kicked around since the regular season ended. As we've said before, Manning's future as a quarterback is still very much in question, but it now seems that asking "where" instead of "if" is now the proper question regarding Manning.
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