Peyton Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, said in an appearance on NFL Network Friday morning that he believes Manning will be healthy and ready to go for the 2012 season.
“Peyton’s not done,” Condon said.
Following up on Thursday’s reports that Manning had been medically cleared to return to the field — reports that Colts owner Jim Irsay denied — Condon said that Manning’s medical clearance means it would be safe for him to play, and that he wouldn’t be risking greater injury to his neck. Condon added, however, that Manning’s nerve regeneration hasn’t reached the point where he would be able to step on the field and play in an NFL game today.
But Condon was adamant that anyone who thinks Manning would be foolishly risking his future health if he returns to the field is wrong. Condon said doctors including “the best back and neck guy in the country” have examined Manning and “made a determination that he’s structurally sound.”
Irsay is expected to release Manning before his $28 million roster bonus comes due on March 8, and Condon said that despite a sense that both Irsay and Manning have been sniping back and forth, the two of them remain close. Condon acknowledged it would be possible for the two sides to re-negotiate the contract and move back the date that the Colts have to pay the bonus, but he didn’t sound interested in doing that. Manning’s side will hold the Colts to that contract, and that means the Colts will cut Manning before paying the $28 million bonus.
And that means Manning will become an unrestricted free agent at some point in the next five weeks. And Condon plans on negotiating a new contract with another team.