I would start getting used to seeing Kerry Collins under center for the Indianapolis Colts this season.
Irsay, a regular on Twitter, wrote the following message on his account: “NFL Season opens 2nite!We had a good practice yesterday and r guys r fired up 4 the season.#18′s out for awhile,but compete,we will/BELIEVE.”
The development was a follow-up to confirmations by the team’s vice chairman, Bill Polian, and Manning himself, that the four-time MVP would miss Sunday’s season opener in Houston, ending an unprecedented streak of 208 (227 including playoffs) consecutive starts to begin a NFL career.
The organization has not confirmed reports from Indianapolis radio host Jake Query that Manning had another procedure done Sunday and likely would miss the entire 2011 season.
“To say I am disappointed in not being able to play is an understatement,” Manning said in the statement. “The best part about football is being out there on the field with my teammates. It will be tough not to be out there playing for the organization and our fans.
“I simply am not healthy enough to play, and I am doing everything I can to get my health back.”
He meant it, too. The Colts and the entire NFL are losing a real gamer for however long Manning is out. He has missed one meaningful snap in his career because of a broken jaw, and he went back in and played with that condition.
That’s why it infuriates me to hear haters saying Manning isn’t tough or making B.S. remarks like Brett Favre or Tom Brady would have played with a sore neck. Granted, we might only be hearing these things from trolls who aren’t serious, but none of these guys would mess with an issue that might involve nerve damage, which is what I have been suspecting could be the case with Manning.
I also get tired of hearing questions asking why Manning waited until May, during the lockout, to have his neck surgery. ESPN AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky offers plenty of logical (and likely correct) explanations for why Manning had the surgery when he did. Perhaps no one close to the situation felt surgery was necessary and that rehab would get the job done. Perhaps there was nothing more the Colts staff could have done to prevent the complications that now are keeping Manning out of commission.
Also, how do we know Manning could have gotten help on his own? There are just too many unknowns with this situation to completely blame Manning for not being ready for the season.
I’m not vouching for Manning. I understand his public profile can turn off some fans, especially when he hasn’t had as much postseason success as some of his contemporaries, namely Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. People just get unreasonable in their dislike, holding Manning to standards to which they would not hold others in similar scenarios.
Just be reasonable. That’s what I’m being rather than suggesting the Colts will get Manning back soon or that they’ll write an improbably story and contend deep into the season. I know better than to guarantee such stances, just like everyone knows better than to say that Favre or Brady would play with the same conditions Manning has.