By: Drew Marshall
The dominant Indianapolis Colts could be in for some trouble in the upcoming season. The Colts have been a powerhouse in the American Football Conference (AFC) for many years, but this year their star quarterback, Peyton Manning, could be out for Week 1. Manning went through surgery during the offseason to repair a nerve and has not fully recovered since. He was present for one practice, but he claimed that his back felt tight. If Manning cannot play at the beginning of the season, the Colts will have to do without a player that has been a major factor for the past 208 straight games.
Manning originally came out for practice last week before being told by team officials that he needed to undergo more tests. Reportedly, he was able to throw, but not with the same strength and accuracy as his teammates are used to seeing out of him. “I hate it for Peyton,” teammate and friend Jeff Saturday said,” You want him to be healthy, you want him to be back, but you want him to take care of it too.”
For safety precautions, team executives signed former retiree Kerry Collins to a deal, in an effort to secure a solid starter in Manning’s absence. The Colts hope to avoid the misfortune they have had when Manning is not present in the game. The last time Manning missed a snap during a game led to a fumble by backup quarterback Mark Rypien which lost the game against Miami in 2001. The preseason also has not been pleasant for the team, as the players have not performed well without Manning.
Another issue with Manning’s injury is that it will stop his consecutive start streak. Currently, he is at 208 consecutive regular season starts, which is 89 starts behind the record held by Brett Favre. If he keeps the streak alive, he will reach his goal in the 2016 season. In this mixed up turn of events, the focus is now placed on an individual player instead of the team as a whole. The record books are calling and the fans enjoy seeing records. The only question left is to ask if Manning is willing to throw caution to the wind and risk his own and his team’s livelihood for a record.
More than likely, Manning will miss his first start and the team will be forced to go on without him. However, former coach Tony Dungy has said that he would expect Manning to play unless he was “dead.” The eager press and the waiting fans will just have to see if Manning’s neck will heal fast enough to continue the historic streak.