Peyton getting healthier; no timetable for Irsay chat

Eric Edholm
January 31, 2012
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INDIANAPOLIS — If this is an awkward week for Peyton Manning, he's not showing it.

All smiles during a brief interview in the NFL Media Center with a group of about 15 media members, Manning spoke briefly about his situation with the Colts, rooting for his brother Eli in the Super Bowl, the city hosting the event and Manning's own rehab from neck surgery.

On whether he and Colts owner Jim Irsay will meet soon  to discuss the quarterback's future with the team, Manning said that will happen down the road at a time to be determined later.

"Jim and I will talk at the right time," Manning said, sporting the still-visible scar from his neck procedure in the fall. "He's busy this week. Actually, he and I will have dinner Sunday along with some other NFL people; the host owner has a dinner every year.

"But there's nothing to talk about (right now)."

Irsay has said that any decision pending on Manning, who is due a $28 million bonus mere days prior to the start of free agency on March 11, along with a $7 million base salary for 2012, will depend on the QB's health. Manning said he continues to get good reports from team doctors.

"I am working hard," he said. "I had a good rehab session today. I'll continue to work hard. I am making progress. The doctors are encouraged. I'll keep doing that.

"I am on track with what the doctors are telling me to do. I am doing what they say. This is a fun week."

And as for the possibility of retirement?

"I have no plans on doing that," Manning said.

Manning threw Tuesday to Colts WRs Anthony Gonzalez and Blair White and will continue to work, even though the Patriots are currently occupying the Colts' facility for Sunday's Super Bowl against the Giants.

Eli Manning will face off against Tom Brady, in many ways Peyton Manning's rival for the past decade. Peyton has helped Eli out during the busy week with tickets and dinner reservations, playing host to his little brother.

"Eli is good," Peyton said. "I just talked to him briefly. I got him reservations for 20 at St. Elmo's (restaurant) for him and 20 of his linemen (Monday night), so I am sure that was a healthy one.

"He sounds good. We are out of the ticket business. A lot of my teammates helped out with that. A lot of the tickets are spoken for. He's excited. I am excited. I have been proud of the way he has played. I'll be looking forward to cheering him hard on Sunday."

Mannning also is out of the prediction game for Super Bowl XLVI, at least for now.

"It's early, it's Tuesday," Manning said with a smile. "No question who I am pulling for. I want the Giants."

Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy, who is close with both Irsay and Manning, believes that if Manning is healthy, he will be back in Indianapolis.

"It's a medical issue," Dungy said. "I have talked to Jim Irsay enough, and he's not worried about the bonus money or finding ways to do it. If (Manning) is healthy enough, he's the quarterback."