While the rest of the NFL world is seemingly transfixed on whether or not the Colts would select Stanford’s Andrew Luck if they received the No. 1 overall pick next April, their injured franchise quarterback still hopes to play this season.
Peyton Manning told reporters on Thursday that he hopes to return to practice this year and still holds out hope of playing if doctors deem him clear to play. He underwent a second surgery on his neck on September 8 and even though he hasn’t played a snap, the Colts have yet to place him on injured reserve.
Of course, the Colts face a much bigger issue than whether or not to free up a roster spot by placing Manning on I.R. They must decide whether to opt out of Manning’s five-year contract or pay him a $28 million bonus to keep him on the 53-man roster. Some in Indianapolis who follow the team closely believe that Manning’s chances of playing again are less than 50-percent.
One of those followers is long-time beat writer Phillip B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star, who says he’s “maybe even 30-70” on whether or not Manning takes another snap. Considering how close Wilson has been to the situation over the years, it’s rather eye opening to see the beat writer spit out those odds.
For now, it’s still a waiting game. Manning hopes he’ll return next season but surely the Colts would trade one down year for three-to-five more years of Peyton under center. But whether he’ll be able to play ever again is the question.