Meet Erin Barill, the guy bending Manning's knee

August, 19, 2008
8/19/08
5:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Meet Erin Barill.

You've probably never heard of him before today. But if you're paying attention to developments regarding Peyton Manning's left knee, you heard seven references to Barill in Manning's first public comments in nearly a month.

Here are two of the premium mentions:

"Like I said, this has been a totally new process for me and I have learned to put my full trust in Erin. He and I have had some pretty heated discussions. Certainly it has not been the most enjoyable process that I've been through, but he's been great because he's challenged me and he's really kept me on an even keel as far as trying to make constant progress. Certainly all along that has been our goal, to try to get back on to the field in order to play in that first game. As to when I'm going to be back on the practice field, that has yet to be determined. It just depends on how everything goes from here on out. I need to have a good week this week. Obviously the sooner, the better for me, but I'm still sticking to Erin's advice and going based on how I feel and I feel that's the best plan for us at this point."

And:

"I know I have the right guy in Erin leading me down the right path and hopefully we can just keep progressing."

Barill, 38, is in his sixth season with the Colts, his third as director of rehabilitation. He holds two degrees from West Virginia. Before joining the Colts, he worked for 11 years as a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Methodist Sports Medicine Center in Indianapolis.

One other thing that struck me out of the transcript of Manning's comments today. The Colts have said that rookie tight end Tom Santi, who had the same surgery two weeks earlier, has been kind of a test case for them. I've repeatedly written we can look to Santi's progress to guess where Manning will be in two weeks.

The quarterback did his best to tamp that down Tuesday without offering any specifics.

"It really isn't [similar], actually," he said. "Somehow that's gotten out there that that's been the comparative bar. That's probably been the biggest misnomer. That has not really been an accurate comparison. I've had some different things to deal with than Tom has and that's probably provided a little bit more of a challenge to me. Hopefully he's going to be out there soon, but I've had a little bit of different things to deal with than Tom."

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