POSTING BY JB MADDAWG
At around Noon today, The Indianapolis Colts will part company with one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. With one day left before having to pay him a $28 million dollar bonus, Peyton Manning will no longer be the Colts on field general for the first time in his pro football career.
The speculation of Manning’s release has certainly not been a surprise, with rumors circulating as early as the start of the last season. Manning has had an ongoing battle with not only his surgically repaired neck, but with the Colts front office as well. Franchise owner Jim Irsay has traded barbs through the media with Manning for the past several months, and most insiders have been speculating if Manning would be able to return to football, and what team he would be suiting up for.
The first question is easy. Yes, Peyton Manning will return to professional football. Athletes at this man’s level don’t just quit because a few ill-informed sports writers and doctors think it may be a good idea. It’s what sets the Mannings, Favres and Marinos away from all the others. Love them or hate them for it, they perform at a different level. That’s not to say injury won’t cut Manning’s career short, but in this case, he will return.
That brings us to the second question. Where? Manning is a good fit for several teams needing a QB, but The Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings will probably be the leading contenders. One thing is for sure, the price tag won’t be cheap. Manning has avoided injury throughout his career, and all the talk of his neck and arm are pretty much just wishful thinking for a team that thinks they’ll get the future Hall of Fame player for a bargain.
As for the future of the Indianapolis Colts, they’ll move on, much like San Francisco did when releasing Joe Montana for Steve Young. It’s how football goes. Players get older, teams move forward. Manning will find other work, and the Colts will now be left with which QB to take in the upcoming NFL draft, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.
In 1998, when it was between Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf as the first overall pick in the draft, Manning reportedly told Colts management that if they didn’t take him at number one, he’d take it out on the Colts every time he played them. Now, it appears, he will finally get a chance to attempt that very same thing.