The excitement about quarterback Peyton Manning’s arrival in Denver has been tempered somewhat by one lingering question.
What’s going to happen to Manning’s surgically repaired neck when he takes a full-speed hit for the first time in more than a year?
The answer to that question is worth millions to the Broncos and Manning. Tom Jackson of ESPN asked Manning whether he has any fears about that moment and Manning answered in the negative.
“I have no concern over that,” Manning said. “I’m not begging James Harrison to blindside me by any means but I feel I’m going to be able to handle that.”
If Colt McCoy is reading this, you have our permission to disagree with that assessment.
Manning’s lack of concern isn’t surprising. You can’t be a successful quarterback in the NFL if you’re playing in fear of getting pasted by a linebacker coming around the edge. It’s the cost of doing business and Manning knows that as well as anyone after years of playing in the league. That doesn’t mean he’s looking forward to Harrison, whose Steelers will be Denver’s first opponent this season, crushing him to the turf.
“So James, I love you and don’t take this as a challenge now,” Manning said. “Go easy on me if you can.”
Not much chance of that, but it doesn’t sound like Manning would have it any other way.