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Irsay: Peyton Manning situation 'a very complicated medical issue'

February 1, 2012 |  1:58 pm

FabforumJim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, said he plans to sit down with Peyton Manning after the Super Bowl and discuss his future with the franchise but called the quarterback's situation "a very complicated medical issue."

If they plan to keep Manning, the NFL's only four-time most valuable player, the Colts have to pay him $28 million by March 8. They have the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft and are in position to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Manning missed the entire 2011 season recovering from multiple neck surgeries, and reports vary on how far his recovery has progressed.

"When you try to consult doctors literally worldwide in terms of what are the expectations, what are the dangers, the risks, the aspects of coming back from it -- no one can give you a definitive answer," Irsay said Wednesday. "It’s one of those things where even some of the doctors said if this came up again that it’s going to be something people are going to rely on as trying to have some sort of historic reference, medically, to look back on. It’s very unusual. It’s been going on for almost a year."

Irsay said he has watched Manning throw but declined to get into specifics or evaluate what he has seen.

"I’ve said from the beginning that it is a two-phase medical aspect," the owner said. "It is, can he return to play at a really high level, with what his expectations are? That is the only level that he wants to be. Can he drill it in Foxborough in January when it’s 10 degrees outside for 50 yards? Is he going to be back to the Hall of Fame level that he expects to play at? I think the second issue has always been the health and the risk of going back onto the field. So I think there are two separate issues, and they are complicated issues."

Asked if he would be willing to push back the March 8 deadline, Irsay said: "Anything is possible if two parties choose to get together him. So I don’t think that is something that is impossible by any stretch."

-- Sam Farmer in Indianapolis

Photo: Peyton Manning. Credit: Phelan E. Ebenhack / Associated Press.