Peyton Manning: 'I really feel good'

Updated: February 1, 2012, 10:04 AM ET
ESPN.com

Peyton Manning plans to return to football, but he and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay have not discussed his future, he said in an interview with ESPN on Tuesday.

Manning I really feel good. I continue to make progress every day. Everything that the doctors have told me has been on point, which is encouraging to me. I just had a great day today with rehab, just got back from the facility, and that's what we continue to do. Just keep trying to get better. So far I have. That's the plan from here on out.

-- Peyton Manning

Manning, in an interview with ESPN's Trey Wingo, said that he and Irsay will discuss whether the Super Bowl-winning quarterback will remain with the Colts "at the appropriate time, and when we do, I think some decisions will be made after that. But until then I'm just continuing to rehab, work hard, and to enjoy this week because it really is a special week for the city and certainly for my family."

Manning said that his recovery from spinal fusion surgery in September -- his third surgery in 19 months -- is going well despite the fact he didn't play last season.

"I really feel good. I continue to make progress every day," he said. "Everything that the doctors have told me has been on point, which is encouraging to me. I just had a great day today with rehab, just got back from the facility, and that's what we continue to do. Just keep trying to get better. So far I have. That's the plan from here on out."

Manning said that he'll continue to have checkups over the next several weeks, and termed his mood as "encouraging."

The Colts face a March 8 deadline for a decision on Manning. They owe him a $28 million option bonus on that date. If they don't pay it, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Asked to predict what decision will be made, Manning deferred.

"I cannot predict that," he said. "I think it's well documented how I feel about this city, the fans, the Colts, Jim Irsay. It's well documented. Tough decisions have to be made. They'll be made at the appropriate time. This is just not the week to do it. It's not the week. I know people can talk about it, that's fair, that's part of the game. It doesn't mean that I have to add to that conversation, and I just don't plan to."

How many more years will he play? "Hard to say," Manning said. "Hard to say.

"[There's] no set timetable. I really don't. I've played a long time. I'm grateful for the time that I've played so far, and I have nothing to complain about. How much longer, we'll see."

Manning said he will wait for the Super Bowl to be over before talking to Irsay. He added that he doesn't think the decision on his future with the Colts will come down to the last minute.

"I think the sooner the better, I really do," he said. "Jim and I talk constantly, we really do. We're in constant communication, and after this week is over, we'll do it, and we'll make a good plan from there. Either way, it's going to be good. I'm at peace, and it'll be a positive thing, I can assure you."

The Colts finished 2-14 last season and have the No.1 pick in the NFL draft. Since the end of the season, Irsay has fired Colts vice chairman Bill Polian, general manager Chris Polian, coach Jim Caldwell and most of Caldwell's assistants.

On Monday, Irsay tried to deflect attention away from a public spat he was having with Manning and put the focus squarely back on the Super Bowl matching the New York Giants against the New England Patriots.

"I'm not talking about Peyton this week," Irsay said as more than a dozen reporters followed him through the media center's hallways. "When Peyton and I talked [last week], we both thought the focus should be on the Super Bowl. We want to focus on the Super Bowl."

Manning termed his relationship with Irsay as "great."

"It's always been great," Manning said. "And it will continue to be great, I assure you of that."

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