Peyton Manning: 'I'm still the quarterback of the Colts'
No one knows just how healthy the Indianapolis Colts quarterback will be when his $28-million option bonus is due in early March. And as Manning continues rehabilitation from the neck surgery that caused him to miss all of this past season, the team seems set on drafting a quarterback -- either Stanford's Andrew Luck or Baylor's Robert Griffin III -- with the top overall pick in April.
So, many have wondered how much of a future the four-time league MVP has with the organization that he led to a Super Bowl championship. Manning told the Indianapolis Star he knows as much as everyone else does at this point.
"I can't give you a prediction because [owner Jim Irsay] and I will sit down at some point and he'll get a feel for where I am and I’ll get a sense of what direction he wants to go," Manning said. "Right now, I have no idea."
He added: "All I know is I'm still under contract to the Colts. I'm still the quarterback of the Colts. That's why I'm in the building every day trying to get healthy."
That last part, Manning suggests, has been rather counterproductive as the organization has been cleaning house around him. Among those to be let go were vice chairman Bill Polian, general manager Chris Polian and coach Jim Caldwell, who was dismissed by new General Manager Ryan Grigson last week.
"I'm not in a very good place for healing, let's say that," Manning said. "It's not a real good environment down there right now, to say the least. Everybody's walking around on eggshells. I don't recognize our building right now. There's such complete and total change."
He added: "I guess it's the reality of the football world, just not something I've had to deal with very often. But I'm in there every day, so I have to sit there and see it. Everybody's being evaluated and I'm no different. It's not the best environment."
But even with all that has transpired, Manning said would like to remain a part of the Colts. "I think it's well documented that I want to play in the same place my whole career," he said.
-- Chuck Schilken
Photo: Peyton Manning. Credit: AJ Mast / Associated Press