Should Peyton Manning Retire so the Colts Can Draft Andrew Luck in 2012?

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Should Peyton Manning Retire so the Colts Can Draft Andrew Luck in 2012?
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The question might have seemed completely absurd had it been asked just a few months ago, but a lot has changed in light of a lengthy NFL lockout, a third surgical procedure to Peyton Manning’s neck and a shameful performance by the Colts in Week 1 of the 2011 NFL season.

The lockout prevented Manning from rehabbing with the oversight of team doctors and trainers.

A third surgical neck procedure was undertaken last week, removing a chunk of Manning’s hip-bone to fuse together his C2 and C3 vertebrae. The surgery was said to be “aggressive,” with a Fox Sports article citing doctors who told them that 20 percent of patients end up experiencing hip pain at the site of extraction for the rest of their lives.

The upside is a greater chance at a speedy recovery, and it's reasonable to speculate that Manning is doing everything he possibly can to return to the field in 2011.

Still, the concerns around his health are valid and many have begun to plead for the future Hall of Fame quarterback to retire early.

If Manning was hoping to sacrifice to be able to make a speedy return this season, the Colts as a "team" have not provided much promise for him to return to.

They outscored the Texans 7-0 in the second half—too bad they were outscored 34-0 by halftime.

And while I wouldn’t count the Colts out just yet, it’s difficult to ignore the problems building in Indianapolis.

For all of Manning’s illustrious “weapons,” the Colts are not a team built to beat you on the ground, then with the aid of quality defense.

So much of the Colts offensive success has been predicated upon both timing and accuracy. Kerry Collins may be a respectable backup, but he’s no Eli Manning, let alone Peyton.

If a “worst-case scenario” were to come to fruition, the Colts may not be completely without hope.

If the team were to continue with this “0-16" caliber of play and if Manning really did end up having to retire, the Colts would have a lock on the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NFL draft and possible access to the hottest offensive coordinator in the history of modern coaching.

Considered by many to be the “would be” No. 1 selection of this year’s draft had he decided to enter, Andrew Luck pulled a “Peyton Manning” by returning to Stanford in 2011.

Manning himself may have even played a role in influencing his decision.

If Manning were to retire, it’s not as though he wouldn’t be capable of trying his “luck” in the coaching ranks. Who else knows the system better? Having already established a rapport with Luck himself could serve as a good foundation for this very unlikely “worst-case scenario.”

Personally, I don’t expect the Colts to finish 0-16, nor do I expect the most productive player in the history of the National Football League to retire prematurely.

Still, it’s good to know that the Colts could have options at their disposal in the event that the unthinkable becomes reality.

The future of Indianapolis has yet to be determined.

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