Already a Manning down!

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Yes, it’s true, the season is only two-quarters old and already we’ve a Manning overboard; Peyton Manning.

As I sip black coffee in the conservatory and await the start of the second-half of the Saints-Packers game, I’m pondering one heavy question: “Is Peyton Manning done for good?”

Thirty-five year old Manning has reportedly had a third operation (a single anterior fusion) on his neck Thursday and there is rising concern both in Indianapolis and around the league that the legend may be looking at a lost 2011 season; more than that the uncertain nature of neck surgery and the unpredictability of recuperation from the associated nerve damage lead some to question whether the charismatic hurler can ever recover the zip that marked him out as a clinical passer.

If that’s the case, if this is the beginning of the end for Manning, then the Colts are really up brown-stuff creek, having just signed-off on a deal that guarantees the 14-year veteran $50 million ($20 million up front and a $28 million bonus next season). With no backup in-house they are relying on veteran recruit, Kerry Collins, to pick-up the slack in the short term but beyond that the financial burden of that contract may hinder their moving-on from the Manning-era.

Manning and the Colts have so far picked-up just one Super Bowl trophy, a win over the Rex Grossman-led Chicago Bears in a sodden Miami downpour, and there is a sense of under-achievement there that neither can shake off easily. That reason alone may be enough to spur Manning to return at all costs.

Colts fans who remember the woeful time pre-Manning will certainly be hoping so.

But from a financial perspective, the Colts are on the hook for that $28 million bonus next season, something they’d be reluctant to hand over to a QB with a doubtful future. Their only way out? Trade away their ‘franchise’ QB.

Interesting time ahead methinks; and if reports (PFT) that the contract was signed with need for a physical are correct then it may be more than Manning’s future that is in jeopardy