Take that Rob Lowe! According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has been cleared to play by two doctors. Dr. Robert Watkins, who performed Manning’s most recent neck surgery, and Indianapolis Colts neurosurgeon Dr. Hank Feuer are the doctors who have cleared Manning to play.
Manning has been optimistic throughout this whole process, and now with the clearance according to sources he plans to play again in 2012. The main problem now is from a performance standpoint. While his neck seems to have heeled fine, the nerve regeneration in his triceps will determine when Manning will be able to take the field again.
According to ESPN, sources told them that Manning had a throwing session on Tuesday with Colts receivers Anthony Gonzalez and Blair White. So while Manning is healthy enough to play now, he is not where he wants to be from a performance standpoint, and it might take some time before he is where he wants to be.
While Manning seems to be on track to play in 2012, where he will play now becomes the real question. Colts owner Jim Irsay and Manning plan to have a sit down after the Super Bowl to discuss Manning’s future with the team. Irsay has until March 8th to decide whether Manning will be with the Colts moving forward. Manning is due a $28 million dollar bonus on that date as a part of his 5-year 90-million dollar contract extension he signed with the Colts before the 2011 season.
Most people expect Irsay not to exercise the $28 million dollar bonus, which would make Manning an unrestricted free agent immediately. The Colts are expected to use their #1 overall pick in the draft on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
If Manning does become a free agent look for teams like the Redskins, Dolphins, Cardinals, and the Jets to be among the teams interested in bringing in the four time MVP.
This is a great day for NFL fans as one of the all time greats, who many expected to never play again, is on track to play again in 2012.