It wouldn't have been surprising news after his multiple neck surgeries and various diagnoses, but there were several reports coming out Monday morning that Peyton Manning would miss the entire 2011 season. That was supposedly the word of team owner Jim Irsay, and was first announced by Indianapolis television station WISH.
However, on his must-follow Twitter account, Irsay provided some clarification, and a small bit of hope for Colts fans:
I didn't say Peyton out 4season FOR SURE,keeping him on ActiveRoster n taking it month by month/Outside chance of return n December possible
Irsay will host the next Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium, but any faint hopes the Colts had of being the home team in that game have basically evaporated. Manning hasn't played this season, and he's currently recovering from a procedure called "single-level anterior fusion" to repair a damaged disc in his neck. That surgery was performed after a procedure in May did not have the veteran quarterback up and running quickly enough for anyone's purposes.
"I do hope to get healthy, and when I'm healthy and cleared to play, I want to be out there," Manning told the Indianapolis Star last week. "But I'm off the clock as far as that goes. I'm just trying to follow the doctors' orders and get healthy.
"This is new to me. I try to have a good perspective, I really do."
On Sunday night, the Colts fell to 0-3 in a 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that game, veteran Manning replacement Kerry Collins left the game with a suspected concussion, and young backup Curtis Painter completed five passes in 11 attempts for 60 yards. Collins was 13 of 29 for 93 yards.
In that game, Manning was up in the Colts' coaches box, helping out with overall offensive schemes and dealing with Pittsburgh's versatile and effective defense. Problem was, Manning had no Manning-style quarterback to help. Still, it might be good for Painter if Manning decides to tutor him.
"He's such a great resource," offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said last week. "Nobody knows this offense better than him. He's a genius on protections. He's a genius on game plans."
"I get a project from them each week, the best way I can help," Manning said. "I want to be a resource. I want to help. You figure out the best way you can help and not overload Kerry with information. You give ideas."