I never thought I'd see the day where Peyton Manning was on the verge on being cut. According to the public comments made this week by Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay, all signs are pointing to letting go one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.
As we all know, the Colts suffered through a horrendous 2-14 season with Manning sidelined due to a neck injury that's required at least three surgeries. The same team who had won 10 or more games, and made the playoffs, in nine straight seasons, was a laughingstock of the NFL. Manning's importance to the team suggested he should get MVP votes despite not playing. They weren't far off. Clearly, no one was more important to their team.
Following the disastrous season, Irsay cleaned house. Firing head coach Jim Caldwell, vice president Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian, as well as numerous other staff, including the trainer helping rehab Manning. Basically anyone who's ever said hello to Peyton Manning is now gone.
Irsay has noted the Colts will take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft. Many are hailing Luck as a "once in a generation" player. That's yet to be seen, but Irsay and the Colts are hoping they can land another Manning-type player for the next 15 years.
Now the war of words has started in the press with Manning saying everyone is at the Colts facility is walking on "eggshells" and Irsay firing back that Manning's been around long enough to know to "keep it in the family" and even calling him "a politician." On Friday, they released a joint statement expressing on much the mean to each other and how they'll work together to determine the future. Very politically correct.
Manning is due a $28 million bonus March 8. That's the matzo ball dangling in front of Irsay right now. He says the decision is based on Manning's health, which is still questionable, and not money. Perhaps, but I highly doubt the Colts want to shell out another $25 million for a guy who might not play again.
As the Super Bowl approaches and younger brother Eli is about to take center stage in the "House Peyton Built," one can't help but wonder what uniform Peyton will be in next year.
The writing's on the wall that it won't be the Colts. Plenty of teams would bend over backwards, forwards, and sideways to sign up Manning, if healthy. If his neck recovers fully, the Colts are going to wish they didn't get rid of him. He'll be off with his new team doing the same thing he did for so many years in Indianapolis, while the Colts work with their rookie. Here's to your health, and new team, Peyton.