Peyton Manning Could Be Gone

The ongoing saga of the future Hall of Fame QB continues to unfold.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Amid all the SuperBowl hype and the expectations for the upcoming draft, there remains a growing buzz of speculation, worry and concern over what is to become of Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning. Manning, the face of the franchise for over a decade, is in the precarious position of getting cut from his team, or maybe even worse, having to retire due to the uncertainty concerning his current health.

For those living in a cardboard box, Peyton Manning had to have three surgeries on his neck to fuse vertebrae and that led him to missing the entire 2011 season. Now, while the vertebrae have healed, the once feared arm of the QB has yet to return to optimal usage. Basically meaning that the QB doesn't have the zip or the arm strength that he previously had and that there have been no signs of improvement.

Due to pay Manning a $28 million dollar roster bonus in March, with the health status of his franchise QB in limbo, and with the number 1 overall pick in April's draft (and a potential franchise QB sitting there), Colts owner Jim Irsay is basically being forced to make the unenviable decision of cutting Manning before that deadline. A move that is sure to prove unpopular with Colts fans.

But seriously, would you pay that kind of green to a player who might never play again?

According to a pair of doctors familiar with the type of surgery Manning has undergone, it is highly unlikely that Manning would be ready outside of a year and in fact, neither would recommend him playing football ever again

“Right now, Peyton is at about six months” said a doctor with a background in spinal fusion. “He should have a much better idea by July or August just how far he’s going to get … even then, that’s only a part of it. You can tell about 80 percent of how the nerves and the muscles are healing by rehab. What you really have to see is how his arm holds up when he starts to throw. Does he have the same velocity on the 15-yard out? Can he throw the 60-yard pass? Can he throw for 30 minutes before his arm gets tired? Can he throw for an hour? It’s a very complicated process.”

It's probably a foregone conclusion that Manning has played his last game as a Colt, his getting cut is inevitable, but I seriously hope he hasn't played his last snap ever. It's rare to get a guy that is as good as Manning was and losing so special a player so suddenly would be a huge blow to sports and sports fans everywhere.

But, like Manning, I guess all we can do is wait, pray and see.