With the 14-year veteran sidelined for most to maybe the whole 2011 NFL season after having an extremely complicated surgery, questions will arise as to whether the league's top quarterback should retire.
Manning, 35, is not a quitter and will try to comeback. If he does not, here are 10 reasons why he might want to hang up his cleats for good.
Peyton Manning has produced an amazing career in 13 seasons.
Manning is third all time in touchdowns thrown (399), passing yards (54,828) and pass completions (4,682). Those numbers are only second to Hall of Famer Dan Marino and future Hall of Famer Brett Favre. He also has 17 rushing scores.
No. 18 has four MVP awards—the most in NFL history, five first-team All-Pro selections and three second-team All-Pro selections. Manning has been voted to 11 Pro Bowls and the NFL's 2000s All-Decade team.
When his career is finished, he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in a heartbeat.
Many athletes attempt an injury comeback if they are lacking that elusive championship.
Peyton Manning does not have to.
He won Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears and led the Colts to two AFC Championships.
When Manning weighs whether he should come back to the field, he might look at his Super Bowl ring, remember that he is a champion, and decide he doesn't need another.
Peyton Manning has been paid royally for his services.
This doesn't include his endorsement deals.
With his endorsement deals and his salary, Manning made $26 million from May 2010-May 2011.
Even though Manning just inked a $90 million contract with Indy, he could walk away and find many new employment opportunities.
Peyton Manning, if he retired right now, would be the most sought after commodity in the NFL.
If Manning wanted to coach, he could be a quarterbacks coach while being groomed to be an offensive coordinator.
If Manning wanted to be in management, he could be an assistant general manager and work his way up.
If he wanted to be an announcer or analyst, companies like Fox, CBS, ESPN and others would scramble to land Manning to increase their ratings.
Book deals are inevitable with famous athletes, and being considered a quarterbacking genius, he could write about the nuances of the position and fans, coaches and players alike would buy it.
Being an NFL player is a huge time commitment requiring constant training and travel, not leaving much time for family life.
Peyton Manning is married to Ashley Manning, and they have twin infants, Marshall and Mosley.
A retired Manning could chill with his wife and watch his two little ones grow up without the stress of constant travel.
Including his high school and college careers, Peyton Manning's body has 21 years of wear and tear from football.
In his NFL career alone, Manning has been sacked 231 times in the regular season. This does not account for playoff sacks and the numerous hits he has sustained.
His knee was operated on in 2008 and he's had two neck surgeries this year alone. Most recently, Manning underwent a single-level anterior fusion, a serious but common surgery putting a cadaverous bone in his neck to fuse it to the spine to relieve neck pain.
Even though team officials said Manning could be tossing a pigskin for Indy in two to three months, SI.com's Will Carroll reports that spinal specialist Dr. Ty Thaiyananthan told him it could take more than a year to recover and that Sterling Sharpe's career ended after the procedure.
Not only was his neck surgery extremely serious, Peyton Manning took a more complicated route to quicken his recovery.
Fox Sports NFL reporter Jay Glazer wrote how Manning elected to have a rare procedure where part of his hip bone (instead of a cadaverous neck bone) is fused to the C2 and C3 vertebrae.
This, doctors say, could cut his recovery time to six to eight weeks. The drawback to this surgery is 20 percent of patients using the hip bone method experience hip pain for the rest of their lives.
If Manning is one of the unlucky who experience hip pain, he might not want his hip driven into the ground each Sunday by 300-pound men.
With injuries to his knee and neck, plus the possibility for permanent hip pain, it might make Peyton Manning lose some of his competitive fearlessness on the football gridiron.
The fear of serious injury to his neck or hip might be in the back of Manning's mind, thus he might be less likely to take risks like scrambling or holding onto the ball longer to make that pass when the defensive line or linebackers are in his face.
Having fear might compromise Manning's ability to lead the Colts at the elite level he's used to, which would gnaw at him.
Peyton Manning doesn't owe anything to the Indianapolis Colts organization, having brought them countless wins, playoff success, two AFC titles and the Super Bowl XLI trophy.
By retiring, he could walk away, and the Colts could move on.
With his career numbers, multiple awards and Super Bowl XLI championship, Peyton Manning has nothing else to prove.
For the last 13 years in the NFL, Manning has put his body on the line (as evinced by his numerous surgeries and current health situation) while displaying his athletic talents to the fullest.
He has played to his fullest potential that he does not owe anything else to sports fans, the Indianapolis Colts organization or the league.
Manning could walk away into the sunset without feeling he didn't do the game proper justice.