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Polian wants Peyton to practice, not play

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In his weekly radio show, which once upon a time streamed on the Internet but which has since been restricted to the Indianapolis airspace, Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian (did he ask for the most sinister-sounding title possible?) said that quarterback Peyton Manning remains on the active roster not so that he can play in games, but so that he can eventually step onto the practice field.

Polian explained, via Jeff Saturday’s best friends at StampedeBlue.com, that the Colts won’t expose Manning to live reps behind a patchwork offensive line.

The Colts presumably want Peyton to practice so that they can see whether he has regained his arm strength after a pair of 2011 neck surgeries, before deciding whether to pay him another $28 million in early March 2012.  The Colts presumably don’t want him to play late in the season because if he energizes the team and wins a couple of games, the Colts could screw up their shot at the next great franchise quarterback.

Though the assessment from last week of CBS and Inside the NFL analyst Phil Simms that Manning won’t “let” the Colts draft Andrew Luck borders on the absurd, Manning surely would lobby Polian aggressively to trade the pick in order to get immediate help that could deliver another Super Bowl win or two for Manning.  Taking Andrew Luck won’t get Manning another ring, unless Manning gets blown up on the sideline by a modern-day Mo Lewis and Luck comes in and delivers the Lombardi.

Manning is smart enough to know that one way to block the “Suck of Luck” campaign would be for Manning to return and lift the 0-8 team out of the league’s basement.  And Polian is smart enough to know that the best way to prevent that from happening is to keep Manning from playing.

The real question is whether Manning will gladly go along with the plan to get him ready to practice but not play.  If/when he’s ever interviewed about the topic on camera, he’ll surely say all the right things.  But if he doesn’t really believe it, it’ll be obvious from the expression on his face.

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41 Responses to “Polian wants Peyton to practice, not play”
  1. shawon0meter says: Nov 1, 2011 9:11 AM

    I don’t blame the Colts here but I do think it would be fun to see how many wins Peyton could pull off with this awful team.

  2. badtimeoutcaldwell says: Nov 1, 2011 9:13 AM

    What good would it be to trade the picks for more talent if they still have Caldwell coaching them?

  3. Nikhil Balakumar says: Nov 1, 2011 9:16 AM

    this would be much less of a problem if they hadn’t given him that contract

  4. adkcabin says: Nov 1, 2011 9:19 AM

    Manning won’t have the balls to take a stand against Polian, just as he didn’t when Polian decided the Colts wouldn’t go for the perfect 16-0 record. Although Manning and all the rest of the players were clearly pissed off by that decision (which ultimately cost the Colts their momentum and the Super Bowl), Peyton didn’t have the sack to publicly force Polian to go for it. It seems the Mannings only take a stand on draft day.

  5. billinva says: Nov 1, 2011 9:19 AM

    Polian is an idiot. His little fiefdom needs to go.

    Get The Chin in there.

  6. coltsfan1987 says: Nov 1, 2011 9:19 AM

    Peyton Manning – 2011-2012 NFL MVP

  7. CKL says: Nov 1, 2011 9:22 AM

    Why is it that with P. Manning and McNabb, the media almost always prefaces everything with “he will always say the right thing” when they DON’T always say the right thing?

  8. snarkzilla says: Nov 1, 2011 9:24 AM

    Lots of speculation from all directions. Nobody even knows if he’ll be cleared to practice, play or whatever yet, do they?

  9. chaunce922 says: Nov 1, 2011 9:27 AM

    If peyton wins one game this year he should get the MVP award.

  10. thridandlong says: Nov 1, 2011 9:32 AM

    Peyton’s career is over. Mr. Poulian, you are going to have to eat the 18 million. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Tough break for you, and Peyton too !

  11. oldhamletman says: Nov 1, 2011 9:34 AM

    the Colts can’t win this race…. the Phins got it locked….

  12. hakk03 says: Nov 1, 2011 9:40 AM

    I’m not the first to say it, but the way Peyton is going out is a shame. I’m nostalgic of the Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, and Reggie Wayne days. Those Colts were one of, if not the classiest dynasties of all time.

  13. Davo says: Nov 1, 2011 9:42 AM

    Manning is famous for not letting his backups get reps in practice, so what would luck “learn” at Indy? How to carry a clipboard?

  14. superfinesumo says: Nov 1, 2011 9:43 AM

    Suck FOR Luck

  15. dcfan4life says: Nov 1, 2011 9:46 AM

    “Peyton’s career is over.”

    Maybe his days of playing at a high level are over, but he will be back. No question about it. And your forgetting Peyton will be Coaching nearly immediately after retiring, and a Head Coach soon after that, maybe with the Colts. I dont doubt any of that for a minute.

  16. nfloracle says: Nov 1, 2011 10:02 AM

    I want to see if the Colts management is actually dumb enough to pay $28,000,000 to an aging Peyton Manning who has had two major neck surgeries that went so wrong he flew to Europe for experimental stem cell treatments. Peyton put up great numbers and was fun to watch play, but he wasn’t a truly great quarterback who could bring home the big rings.

  17. terrellpryorstattooartist says: Nov 1, 2011 10:05 AM

    I pray that they get the number 1 pick and luck stays in school or they lose all these games and don’t get the #1 pick

  18. 2ndaryinsanity says: Nov 1, 2011 10:09 AM

    I have never cared about the Dolphin’s up until now…. I am praying they end up with the worst record, because I do NOT want my Texans having to face Luck twice a year for the next 10 years. Miami…please, please, please suck worse than the Colts!!!

  19. cfroggerton says: Nov 1, 2011 10:18 AM

    Dolphins only have 3 games against sub-.500 teams (Dallas, Philly, Washington). Their schedule is brutal.

    Colts get to play the Jags twice. ‘Nuff said.

    If Peyton gets 100%, you might as well play him in a few games, if only for your fans.

  20. bukes111 says: Nov 1, 2011 10:36 AM

    this speculation that teams are tanking games to get luck ( which is probably the truth) is bad for the game. Time for the NFL to adapt the NBA lottery rule where the worst team is not gauranteed to get the first pick. Won’t completely stop this behavior but it would help.

  21. lucky5934 says: Nov 1, 2011 10:43 AM

    The Colts gave him the contract knowing his situation. I am fairly certain that he will either be back to play or retire. If anything, you want Luck as your draft pick so he can learn from one of the all time greats… whether he starts next year or 2-3 years down the road. The Colts have an opportunity to rest Peyton the right way and potentially steal one of the best QB prospects to come out in a while.

  22. mvp43 says: Nov 1, 2011 10:58 AM

    Polinan’s job is to keep the team competitive for years to come and Manning is not the future of the team. Now, I’m not saying Luck is the answer either, but how can you give 28 mil to a player nearing the end of his career coming off neck surgery? that makes no business sense.

  23. oriolesvsravens says: Nov 1, 2011 11:45 AM

    Can he work out and practice off of the 53 man roster? It’s some kind of arrogance in that front office to have him take up a roster spot.

  24. bucsfan5000 says: Nov 1, 2011 11:55 AM

    What will happen is that Luck will refuse to play for the Colts, then he gets traded to Denver and the Colts get Tim Tebow.

  25. istillbelieveinblue says: Nov 1, 2011 11:56 AM

    adkcabin: Just because Peyton didn’t stand up to Polian to the media doesn’t mean he (and some of the other veteran leadership) didn’t share opinions behind closed doors. The Colts don’t air dirty laundry in public.

  26. ppc50 says: Nov 1, 2011 11:59 AM

    It has always amazed me how articles like this assume that Manning could win multiple Super Bowls. He has won 1 – he played very poorly, has a losing playoff record, and has not be clutch in big games, even in Tennessee. Even if he played this year, there is no way that they would have either gone to or would win the Super Bowl. Yes, he has the numbers, but he had some very good teams as well. Neither Manning will ever win another Super Bowl.

  27. andypro18 says: Nov 1, 2011 12:07 PM

    This ‘Suck for Luck’ stuff is getting out of hand. No NFL team, repeat, NO TEAM, is currently intentionally trying to lose games in order to get Andrew Luck. It doesn’t happen that way in the NFL. There is no need for a lottery.

    Just look at Miami, the current frontrunners. The last two weeks Dolphins led both their games well into the second half of the 4th quarter of each game. What do you think happened? Their coach told them to play hard and get a lead late in the 4th, and then make sure to blow it late?

    And listen to all the former NFL players. Can anyone come up with even one example of ANY former player suggesting that tanking EVER happened on ANY team they’ve been a part of?

    Nope, they are almost unanimous in their agreement that it would be nearly impossible for an organization to tank games in order to get a higher pick.

    So, let’s just stop it here, ‘kay?

  28. indianajet says: Nov 1, 2011 12:14 PM

    Who’s to say Luck would play for the Colts? If Manning is healthy, which we should know by the draft, I can see Luck pulling an Eli if the Colts have the #1 pick.

    Think about it. Although he’ll make plenty of $$$ as the #1 overall pick. His real big money will come in his second contract if he’s as good as everyone thinks he is.

    He’s not going to get the big $$$ second contract if he sits behind Manning for his first four years.

    For Luck to get the most $$$ out of his NFL career, he needs to go somewhere he can play right away. That way, when it’s time to sign his second contract he’ll have the an resume behind him to demand a $45 million dollar signing bonus.

  29. andypro18 says: Nov 1, 2011 12:49 PM

    If Manning is healthy, there’s no reason to draft Luck. Trade the pick to Miami – everyone wins. The Dolphins get the QB they need to build around and entice a big name coach, and the Colts get the picks they’ll need to rebuild the rest of their team behind Manning.

  30. fister30 says: Nov 1, 2011 12:51 PM

    You cannot throw Caldwell under the bus when your Vice Chairman admits the offensive line is “patchwork”.

  31. stephenjr311 says: Nov 1, 2011 12:57 PM

    I’ve never thought a team intentionally threw games in order to get a higher pick… but there’s a first for everything.

    Intentionally not playing your best player even if he’s 100% IS intentionally throwing the game. The players will still play to win, and the coaches will still try to win, but that front office is throwing those games no doubt about it. I can’t see any other NFL team getting away with this. I lose all respect for the Colts if they do this, and so should you.

  32. raiderlyfe510 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:14 PM

    Polian is sabatoging the season for Luck. Anyone who doesn’t realize this is naive and dumb.

  33. vadog says: Nov 1, 2011 1:20 PM

    Bill Polian should know better. You do not give live snaps in practice to a quarterback unless he has a chance to play! Taking snaps away from those that will actually be available to play is just plain idiocy. Peyton needs to go on IR. He can work out with the Colts trainers and throw the ball to them and with them to assess if he has the arm strength to recover form in 2012. Polian needs a head slap!!

  34. chowface86 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:37 PM

    Whats Tyler Thigpen up to these days?

  35. packtopack20112012 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:40 PM

    Is anyone else extremely sick and tired of the Suck for Luck talk? Give me a break …. I would take Barkley instead anyway.

  36. marcuswelby70 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:52 PM

    hakk03 says:
    Nov 1, 2011 9:40 AM
    I’m not the first to say it, but the way Peyton is going out is a shame. I’m nostalgic of the Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, and Reggie Wayne days. Those Colts were one of, if not the classiest dynasties of all time.
    —————————————-

    Dynasties?

  37. andypro18 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:55 PM

    stepenjr311 said:

    “Intentionally not playing your best player even if he’s 100% IS intentionally throwing the game. The players will still play to win, and the coaches will still try to win, but that front office is throwing those games no doubt about it. I can’t see any other NFL team getting away with this. I lose all respect for the Colts if they do this, and so should you.”

    The Colts have ALREADY done this. Back in 09, they intentionally didn’t play their best player even though he was 100% healthy. Their thinking was they had nothing to gain by winning those games, and didn’t want their stars to get hurt.

    People have to decide if they think that was the right decision or not (the Colts DID get to the Super Bowl, mostly healthy); but it would not be a precedent for the Colts to sit out a healthy Manning, whatever the reason.

    (incidentally, if I’m not mistaken, that’s the year that Welker got hurt in week 17, right?)

  38. raiderlyfe510 says: Nov 1, 2011 1:58 PM

    Luck should go to a team that really needs him. Not to a weak, heartless team that’s GM is sabatoging the season to get him.

  39. xli2006 says: Nov 1, 2011 2:24 PM

    He isnt even cleared to run yet. He is miles away from being game ready but could be practice ready in Dec to gauge his progress.

    This is actually a smart move to keep all options open. Getting him practice reps would be a huge step before going into the offseason.

    He WILL NOT play this season based on where he is now in his recovery but he could practice.

  40. dukemarc says: Nov 1, 2011 5:09 PM

    dcfan4life says: Nov 1, 2011 9:46 AM

    “Peyton’s career is over.”

    Maybe his days of playing at a high level are over, but he will be back. No question about it. And your forgetting Peyton will be Coaching nearly immediately after retiring, and a Head Coach soon after that, maybe with the Colts. I dont doubt any of that for a minute.
    ———————————–
    True, he may go into coaching but it will be interesting to see if he can handle when his QB isn’t as good as he was at running the offense. That’s why many great players don’t make good coaches – they can’t coach up a lesser player because the game came so much easier for them.

  41. rubbernilly says: Nov 1, 2011 8:54 PM

    What will Polian’s legacy be? Yes, he drafted a Top-3 QB all-time, but he couldn’t surround him with enough other pieces to win more than 1 superbowl.

    Oh, and the River Flo must be really insecure. Really. *shaking head*

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