Today at the Colts press conference to announce the release of franchise icon and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, the quarterback addressed his current injury which kept him out for the entire 2011 season. The nerve damange in Manning’s neck is a concern for any team interested in him going forward, but he also made it clear today that he planned on playing in 2012.
Manning said, “I’ve still got some work to do, some progress to make. But I’ve come a long way and I’ve really worked hard. I can’t tell you the hours and time I’ve put into working hard. I really enjoy being back out there.”
Manning also noted that there’s plenty of time left before he absolutely must be ready to play, something he struggles to remember.
“I’m feeling closer and closer,” he said. “I have to remind myself that it is March. I have a hard time of doing that at times. It sure does feel comfortable, feels like home being back out there. For not being out on the field in September, October and November, that was personally difficult so it’s nice to have that freedom. I’m working hard and still have some work to do and I look forward to doing that work.”
Any team that signs Manning must have a contingency plan ready in case it doesn’t work out. For the Chiefs, a quarterback like Matt Cassel looks great as an insurance and spot starter for Manning and the team would be set at quarterback if Manning were wooed to KC. The same can be said of Matt Moore in Miami or Rex Grossman in Washington.
Manning still has a long road ahead, but it’s clear that he’s on the right track.
For more news on Manning’s release, check out SB Nation’s Colts blog, Stampede Blue.