Those in and out of Indianapolis who are wondering just how much Peyton Manning's neck issues could prevent him from continuing his best-active consecutive-games streak just got some extra reason to be concerned. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, a burgeoning social media news source for those interested in his team, tweeted on Wednesday morning that the Colts had agreed to terms with veteran quarterback Kerry Collins.
It's interesting that Irsay did this while head coach Jim Caldwell was in a press conference with local media — and Caldwell said nothing about the signing during his time at the podium. From Tom James of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star:
So much for being in the loop!
Collins, a 17-year veteran who had originally decided to retire in July has some serious connection to the Colts — Indianapolis team president Bill Polian drafted Collins in the first round of the 1995 when he was with the Carolina Panthers, and Caldwell was Collins' quarterbacks coach at Penn State.
The move to get Collins — or some other veteran quarterback — is vital, because the Colts are so young and untried at the position behind Manning. Between backups Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Mike Hartline, there's precious little experience and even less production.
Collins has plenty of both. Now that he's active again, he's got the second-most career passing yards of any active player (40,441), behind only Manning's 54,828. It's believed to be the first time in NFL history that the two active passing yardage leaders played for the same team.
Of course, the news really isn't about Collins — it's about the possibility that Manning could miss his first regular-season start since he came into the NFL as the first overall pick in 1998. Manning has not sufficiently recovered from a May procedure to repair a disk-related injury in his neck to play at all in the preseason, and for the first time in well over a decade, there have been questions about who will take the ball from under center for the Colts when the games count.
Manning signed a five-year, $90 million contract extension after the lockout was over. He has started 208 straight regular-season games in his career, second-only to Brett Favre's 298. Irsay had tweeted out some missives about possibly acquiring Favre in Manning's place, but those turned out to be more in fun.
The Collins signing indicates that things have become rather serious for the Colts.