Peyton Manning says his neck still hasn’t healed


Colts quarterback Peyton Manning already has missed eight games after a pair of neck surgeries.  It’s still unknown whether he’ll miss eight more.  Or even more than that.

Manning made on Tuesday an unexpected appearance in the team’s locker room.  And he said he’s got more healing to do before he can practice or play.

“We’re still waiting for the fusion to take place, it’s still going slow and we still have some issues with the regeneration of the nerve,” Manning said, according to the Associated Press.  “I still have some restrictions.”

Characterized as “more serious” in his demeanor than Manning was during his last visit with reporters, Manning opted not to talk about his future or the possibility that the Colts will draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.  “Those are all fair questions, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about right now,” Manning said. “I’m thinking about how can I get a little better?  [The contract] is really a one-year deal with a four-year extension and that was my recommendation because I wasn’t healthy when I signed the contract.”

He’s right, but the Colts need to decide by early March whether to kick in the four-year extension by picking up a $28 million option bonus.  On Manning’s current timeline, the Colts may not be able to make the decision without watching Manning throw, because he may not be able to throw before the 2011 season ends.

Of course, Manning could choose to throw for the team privately, before the 2012 offseason program begins.  Or he could choose not to, which would force the team to make a big decision with incomplete information.

Likewise, he could choose to delay until April, May, or beyond the trigger for the $28 million payment.  Or he could choose not to, forcing the team to decide whether to cut him, trade him, or pay him.

There will be many unanswered questions as it relates to Manning’s playing career, and based on his comments from Thursday the chance he’ll never play again can’t be completely disregarded.  There’s no pill or exercise for regenerating nerves.  If it doesn’t happen for Manning, he won’t be able to throw the ball like used to be able to throw the ball.

Here’s hoping that the healing happens.  All-time great quarterbacks should be able to leave the game on their own terms.

49 responses to “Peyton Manning says his neck still hasn’t healed

  1. You have to give it to Manning; the way he structured his deal really protects the Colts a great amount. That’s the kind of team commitment that is rarely seen in professional sports.

  2. “All-time great quarterbacks should be able to leave the game on their own terms.”

    Really? What about All-time greats at the other positions. Its a collison sport. Not a desk job.

  3. As a Pats fan, I’d hate to see Peyton go out like this. He should go out in defeat as is tradition.

    All joking aside, things won’t be the same without 18 putting the fear of God into us.

  4. Dude is an awesome player and Im a fan of his game but I think the best move for him and his family would be just to call it a career. Nerves in the the neck is nothing to mess around with.

  5. Not only will Peyton Manning play again, he will be the first unanimous comeback player of the year/ MVP. Don’t count this guy out.

  6. All kidding aside, this really doesn’t sound well for Manning.

    I do believe he’s taken his last snap, and Patriots fans will treasure the battles with Manning and the Colts the way we do the Magic/Larry days.

  7. If the injury for some reason doesn’t heal as expected and he can’t play, I truly believe Peyton will walk away and begin a career as a coach that will lead him to the hall of fame in that profession as well.

    Either that, or he’ll become an SNL cast member.

  8. My nerves never regenerated their dead. just sayin. but then again i’m not a millionaire. it just feels weird now, no pain just incompleteness. weirdest feeling in the world.

  9. From a Jag fan –

    I miss having him out there.

    Get well Peyton – I wasn’t serious when I called you Jughead all those years.

  10. My mother had this surgery about a year ago and there is no way in hell that he is going to be able to come back and play football ever again. If he takes one more shot to the head again he could be paralyzed for life, he is just pretty much delaying the inevitable, which is he is done with football.

  11. I think the Colts will have to keep Manning and draft Luck because they probably can’t get value in a trade for Manning. Maybe after he shows he’s healthy again they could trade him.

  12. Peyton. Take the last bit of money from this contract. You earned it. Your value is proven by this seasons results. Go home to your wife and family. Get a gig on tv now or just stay in the limelight until Eli retires. Thanks for the football memories. Get healthy.

  13. On the other hand the oversized head on the Peyton Manning Bobblehead doll does not flop around in a strange fashion, or bob up and down. It acts in a normal fashion.

  14. i really miss ol` five head. the pats and the colts were the best game of the season. did not think it would end this way. it sucks.

  15. Neck injuries are much more serious than concussions. One wrong hit, especially with dirty players like Suh, and he’s paralyzed. It’s not worth it.

  16. I’m sure he’ll do what’s best for him and his family. As far as the Colts go, they should convince him to retire and take a position as QB coach, then OC, and then Head Coach. The kid is as bright a football player as I’ve ever seen and still has a lot to give back to the game, even if he never plays another snap.

  17. Peyton Manning has been my favorite football player since his Tennessee playing days. This is such a bummer that he may not be able to exit on his terms. Neck injuries are nothing to take lightly, and his sounds pretty wicked. He’s done so much for the game, the Colts and the QB position. Such an entertaining and all-time great player. Good luck, Mr. Manning, in your recovery. If he doesn’t make it back, thanks for the litany of memories.

  18. I think this injury PROVES that Peyton is the greatest team of all time.

    Going from a Super Bowl contender to the worst team in the league due to 1 player. Really amazing.

    Get well soon Peyton.

  19. Unfortunately I am a dolphins fan, I always reverted to the Colts once the Dolphins were out of the picture (always). I think as others have said, he has played his last snap. I really hope that isn’t the case, but it seems to be inevitable.

    It will be a sad day in football when Peyton retires, truly the greatest QB I have ever seen.

  20. Careful Peyton, they are only practicing medicine, they don’t have it down yet. That’s why all of the uncertainty.
    I had very similar surgery five years ago. Took a year and a half to fully heal.
    Good luck, have always enjoyed watching you play.

  21. I had this surgery 11 years ago. My neurosurgeon told me “if it involves a helmet–don’t do it”. Peyton would be a fool to return to football. I also think Nick Collins is done–he had the same surgery after the Carolina-Packers game.

    I hope I’m wrong!!!

  22. I’ve always admired and respected Peyton Manning– regardless of your team affiliation, you just have to give it up that he is one of the most gifted quarterbacks ever (and arguably the best).

    If he ends up being cut by the Colts– the franchise that he took from gloom and mediocrity into a perennial Super Bowl contender and eventual winner– it’d be a real shame, especially to part on such a sad note given all that he’s done for the team and the Indianapolis area.

    All of that said, if he becomes a free agent and he still wants to play– even if his neck is dangling off his shoulders– how much do you want to bet that the Redskins bet the farm on him and make the Albert Haynesworth deal look like the vet minimum? (I jokingly say that as a Skins fan… but c’mon! You KNOW it would happen!)

  23. A legend should not go out like this.

    As a Colts Fan, Season Ticket Holder, and one who respects Manning greatly on and off the field… his career and image to the game is too great to be derailed by a “freak” health issue out of the blue.

    His last NFL moment CANNOT be the “Timeout-gate” in the 2011 Playoffs.

    I think he will be back, at the very least for a Swan Song Year or 2 (hopefully with his heir waiting in the wings).

  24. As a Niners fan, I thoroughly enjoy watching Peyton play. However I really hope he makes the wise decision to retire. Neck injuries are serious business and 2 surgeries in such a short time with healing issues is even more recipe for disaster. I would really hate to see something happen to him.

  25. I don’t know what I am going to miss more, those aerial dogfights between him and Brady or those gooffy commercials he does.

    He is a fool if he plays again. Three operations and it’s still not right. One more and he could end up in a wheelchair or worse for life. He’ll be thought of as one of the all time greats and a SB champion. His team sucks so what’s the upside?

    It’s been a great run now it’s time to ride off into the sunset in one piece.

  26. When is someone just going to admit that his career is over ? Anyone have the statistic for the number of 36 year olds who have returned to the NFL after a cervical fusion ??? Time for jug head to go buy an island and count his millions.

  27. @xli2006 – I completely understand your feelings, but the reality is that the decision is being made for him by his body. Sometimes you are done with football, and sometimes football is done with you. Peyton had an amazing run, but at age 36 and with three neck surgeries to his name, it’s time for him to retire. As a Colts fan, the last thing you want to see in 2012 is Peyton struggling around the field with limited mobility, throwing wounded ducks and getting hammered every week. That’s no way for a Hall of Famer to go out either…

  28. I’m wondering which mathematically-eliminated team will play Luck-spoiler and force the Colt’s to win a game?

  29. As a person who was born and raised in Indiana…I have been a Colts fan since I was a little kid (shortly after Bob Irsay slinked into Indy in he middle of the night). Obviously, this stinks. Not only from a Footbal standpoint…but for what he has meant to the Orgainization, the City and State. Hell…he literally put the team on the map. Unfortunate. I really hope he doesn’t go out like this.

  30. I had three vertebrae cervical fusion 2 1/2 years ago. There is added stress to the vertebrae which join the fused ones. The pain I am in 24/7 is much worse since the surgery than before. Peyton has had a great career. If there is any question of him trying to come back just to prove a point it would be foolhardy. He has given us a great trip through the years. I’m glad he got his ring before this. Count your blessings Indianapolis – you could have drafted Ryan Leaf.

  31. @ brintfatre: As a Colts fan…I fully expect them to win a couple of games late in the season while everyone else is resting their starters for the playoffs. This will take care of the Luck Sweepstakes (as it pertains to the Colts anyway).
    I can’t help but continue to think back to the undefeated season and them resting their starters for the playoffs. Poetic Justice? Football Gods? Either way…I fully anticipate it happening.

  32. Yes, a rookie QB will fix all the problems. Better hope Peyton can play another 3-4 years so they can fix the coaching and personnel issues with the top picks.

  33. It’s sad when a superstar is forced to quit the game he loves due to injury. I hope he gets better, but at the same time, I sure hope he doesn’t risk his long term health to ‘take one for the team’.

    The Colts need a healthy Peyton Manning more than an unhealthy Peyton Manning needs to take another snap.

  34. @ rcali: Obviously…a rookie QB will have ZERO chance of curing the Colt’s ills. However, that was in response to a previous poster mentioning the Colts not getting a chance at the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes (hence the reply). Although I agree with you in regard to your comment about the Coaches…I am not real sure what your point is. Cause’ again…the post was peratined to Andrew Luck. Sure…the Colts need to make some changes (potentially Wholesale changes). It should certainly start with Caldwell. But again…that post had nothing to do with that and everything to do with the Andrew Luck comment(s) someone posted previously.

  35. I have had this surgery 3 times in the last 22 years. The nerves never come back and once they plate your neck the movement is so restricted that someone grabbing his face mask would be devastating. For his own good, he should not play again. He will never be the same and playing again will only make it worse. At least he can still walk…

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