Was Manning's injury the result of a bounty? Who knows, and it has little to do with his potential departure. Manning will go down as a top five quarterback and a Hall of Famer. So why is Jim Irsay about to show Manning the door?
Andrew Luck is a "can't miss prospect." Quarterbacks like him are extremely rare to come by. The last quarterback coming out of college most ready to make an NFL impact was, well, Peyton Manning. And look how things have worked out for Indy. If they let Manning walk at age 35, (he will be 36 in the season), for another franchise quarterback, it will be hard to complain. If Luck is as good as advertised, the Colts should be set with a quarterback for quite some time. If he fails, will Colts fans ever forgive Irsay?
Peyton Manning was the anchor to the Colts success. They set records with 115 wins in a decade and with seven consecutive 12 win seasons. They won two AFC Championships and won a Super Bowl. The quarterback leads the team and Manning brought enormous success to Indianapolis.
Manning has also carved his own legacy with his individual play. Over the course of his career, Manning has thrown for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns. He has made 11 Pro Bowls and won a record four NFL MVP awards. He was named to the 2000's all-decade team.
So, with the team's success and Manning's statistics, why are the Colts even contemplating his future in Indianapolis? He wants to reitre a Colt and deserves to do so.
The Colts are entering a massive rebuilding project in 2012. Many Pro Bowlers and fan favorites will be shown the door as the Colts try to get younger. It was not Manning's fault that he suffered a neck injury, yet he is getting punished.
Manning was durable for such a long time. At the quarterback position, injuries are inevitable. With the sudden collapse of the Colts, Manning's value was shown. So why is Irsay contemplating Manning walking away and contributing to another team?
Although Manning's days as an NFL quarterback are numbered, he deserves to walk away on his own terms in his own time. The Colts are the ones who offered Manning his huge contract and Manning deserves the money. The Colts should go after Luck, or even Robert Griffin III in the draft. It would be foolish not to. Having said that, Manning has earned the right to stay in Indianapolis.
Peyton Manning has one heck of an NFL career. He is not at fault for the problems in Indianapolis today. He has not been shown respect and, of all people, his owner is making a fool of him in the media. Manning has always stayed away from the limelight and even if he departs from the Colts, he derserves the right for it to be managed out of the eye of the public.
So whatever Indianapolis decides, they are doing it for the benefit of their franchise. Players like Manning don't come along often and he deserves better treatment from the Colts. Whatever happens to Manning by March 8, it better be done with respect and courtesy because that's what Manning deserves.