Some thoughts on Manning's thoughts

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
6:10
PM ET

Some thoughts on some thoughts that Peyton Manning shared with the media in Indianapolis today.

Manning: “I meet a lot of people that have had fusions, and (it is) kind of like ‘welcome to the fusion club.’ I don’t know if there’s dues or if there’s a rush that you have to go through. But I guess it’s good to be part of that club, because I know there are certainly cases where it doesn’t take. I had an unstable neck, and this means that it is stable. So that was comforting, just purely on the health side of it. So that was encouraging.”

Kuharsky: While we discuss and debate Manning’s future and what the Colts should do about his contract and the likelihood they draft Andrew Luck, this was a bit of a stark reminder. We’re talking about a guy’s neck, and his ability to turn it to watch his kids run by is really a more significant thing than any of the football elements. Some rushed to say to the news, “Yeah, but it doesn’t tell us anything about the nerve regeneration" with barely a pause to be happy about a benchmark in the healing from a very serious surgery.

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Manning: “So now that we can do a little more throwing (we can make a better assessment). Throwing will be a part of this next progression, (and) that is somewhat critical to my job. I will be throwing, and have been doing some throwing, and we’re going to ramp that up a little bit and answer some more questions about where we are.”

Kuharsky: Manning’s been reasonable about offering the medical updates knowing the circus that would ensue if he didn’t talk and how many people would unearth bits of information or speculate without his comments. But I don’t expect we’re going to get any sort of feedback from him or the team on how he’s throwing and how his body is reacting to it until he’s ready to practice. And if he’s not ready to practice by season’s end, it could be well after that.

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Manning: “As far as questions about (my) long-term career and about the 2012 NFL Draft, I think those are inappropriate frankly, given the fact that we had a coach get fired this week, we have players playing for jobs and we have changes being made. It tells you that this is a serious time for our team, and all we want to do is get a win on Sunday, and all I want to do is keep making progress. So anything beyond those two things isn’t really on my radar at this point.”

Kuharsky: As much as we’d like to delve into that stuff, imagine the conversations Manning would set off and the distraction they’d become if he addressed the draft or his contract at this point? Heck, the Colts might beg him to do it just to make us turn away from 0-11 very likely heading towards 0-12.

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Manning on whether he’s said he’s OK with the Colts drafting a quarterback, something Colts vice chairman Bill Polian has said on his radio show: “So I don’t know what was said on the radio show, but that’s just not a conversation that happened between he and I. But whatever Bill has to do for the organization, that’s what he has to do. I just play football. I really have been just the starting quarterback here for 13 years, and no other hat or role besides doing my job to do that. Whatever they have to do, Jim (Caldwell) and Bill, that’s what they have to do. I don’t really know what else to say besides that.”

Kuharsky: He and Polian are saying different things here. I can understand why. Polian saying Manning is OK with the Colts drafting a quarterback eases some of the pressure and tension regarding a potentially awkward scenario. But Manning can’t say he offered an OK, or it acknowledges he has a power or influence that goes beyond normal bounds for even a star of his magnitude. And the fact is, the Colts don’t need and shouldn’t seek his approval regarding drafting his replacement.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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