Even with injuries continuing to mount, the Indianapolis Colts and general manager Bill Polian have been adamant about keeping injured quarterback Peyton Manning on the active roster. This is despite the fact that it seems unlikely that Manning will see game action this season.
Regardless of Polian's outlook on Manning's playing prospects, he thinks leaving Manning on the roster is a good idea. If nothing else, Polian believes that possibly practicing with the team later in the season will be good for the franchise quarterback's psyche.
I think it's important for [Manning] to feel like, "Hey, I'm back, I can do the things that are necessary to say I can play like I want to." The bottom line is he needs to feel good about being back and doing the things he wants to do.
It may seem silly to some to keep a player on the active roster even though he isn't expected to play this season, but I think Polian is spot-on in his assessment. For one, it isn't as if the Colts are in the thick of the playoff race and need that roster spot.
Indianapolis is 0-8 and has already essentially been eliminated from playoff contention. Winning isn't a goal at this point, and provided the Colts don't suffer through an unprecedented amount of injuries moving forward, they should have enough players to field a full roster every week.
Keeping Manning on the roster also shows that the organization is still fully committed to him. With an 0-8 record, the talk of the Colts drafting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in April's draft is obviously rampant.
The Colts aren't going to tip their hand one way or the other, but with Manning injured and getting up there in years, you have to believe that Indy would take Luck if given the chance. Manning understandably wouldn't be a big fan of that move, but keeping him on the roster now shows he is still the Colts' guy—at least for now.
This season has been a nightmarish one for Manning, and being placed on injured reserve would only serve to make it worse. While nobody is giving Manning a chance at playing this season, you have to believe he is still striving toward that goal.
That type of belief is what is going to keep Manning going, not only this year, but moving forward as he tries to prove that he is still an elite signal caller in the NFL.