In an interview Tuesday with ESPN's Trey Wingo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said doctors are optimistic he can return to play after multiple neck surgeries.
"Everything they're saying is, 'Everything's right on point, everything looks good,' that I'll be cleared and ready to go," Manning said. "So that's encouraging to me."
If the Colts intend to keep him, they have to pay Manning a $28-million bonus by March 8. Asked what he needs to know -- and the Colts need to know -- before that date, Manning said: "That's hard for me to answer. Certainly [Colts Owner] Jim Irsay and I are going to talk. It's tough to do this week. He's got a lot going on [and] I'm still trying to get tickets for family members coming in."
Manning, whose brother Eli will quarterback the New York Giants in Sunday's Super Bowl, said he plans to attend Irsay's party Thursday night but they probably won't talk about the quarterback's future then.
"We will [talk] at the appropriate time, and when we do, I think some decisions will be made after that," Manning said. "Until then, I'm just continuing to rehab, work hard, and enjoy this week, because it really is a special week for the city and certainly for my family."
Manning said the appropriate time will be "probably after this week.... It will happen soon."
He said his relationship with Irsay is "great. It's always been great, and it will continue to be great for the rest of our lives, I can assure you of that."
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-- Sam Farmer in Indianapolis
Photo: Peyton Manning. Credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press