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Peter King on M&M: Peyton Manning’s career not in jeopardy

09.09.11 at 1:17 pm ET

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Friday morning to discuss issues around the NFL as teams prepare for their season-openers this weekend. One of the topics King talked about was the status of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his injured neck.

King said he talked to a spine expert on Thursday and was told that the expected recovery period for Manning from spinal fusion surgery will be 2-3 months and that he may play again this year, considering Manning’s physical health and drive.

“His career absolutely isn’t in jeopardy,” King said, based on the discussion with the spine expert. “Most people live very, very normal lives, even athletes, after having this surgery.”

King also spoke with Colts vice chairman Bill Polian, who told King that Manning’s prognosis is still unknown. That includes whether Manning will be able to play against the Patriots when Indianapolis visits New England on Dec. 4.

“Even though this is probably a very selfish question for all Patriots fans, the thing I’m sure a lot of people in New England are concerned about is: OK, the Colts come in here on Dec. 4, is there any chance that Manning could be ready to play that day? I wouldn’t rule it out,” King said. “I don’t think he’ll be able to do anything of great activity at least until six or eight weeks out, like running or starting to throw or getting back into shape.

“I think it’s unlikely [that he faces New England], because that’s right at the beginning of this three-month period. … I just think so much depends on how he reacts and how the Colts are playing at the time.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On Colts backup Kerry Collins being the lone option behind Manning: “He had no desire to play football anymore [before the season] and he’s been there for 15 days, so, yeah, that’s a problem. So you’re going to ask the question: Did they get caught short? Well, probably they did. And certainly, as it turns out in retrospect, yes, they did.

“But [Colts GM] Chris Polian was telling me something in training camp this year. He says, ‘Everybody always says to us, Why don’t you get a better backup for Peyton?’ And, he wouldn’t tell me who it was, recently they were negotiating with a quarterback to come in and be No. 2. The only reason this guy would have come in for the money is because the only thing that would happen here is that [he] he would rust. Because Peyton doesn’t let the backup quarterback very often take snaps with the first offense and he never plays in the game, so you’re giving up one year of your NFL career.”

On the Patriots cutting safety Brandon Meriweather: “This might be the slap in the face that Brandon Meriweather needs. He needed to be more of a worker, needed to be more dedicated. I wrote the other day that I thought Bill Belichick drafted Brandon Meriweather to be Rodney Harrison for the next eight years. To be the new enforcer, big hitter, fearless safety who would sort of set the example for everybody in the secondary. … A couple of years into it, you’re looking down and Patrick Chung is better.

“I think what hurt the Patriots in Brandon Meriweather’s development is him making the Pro Bowl in 2009. I think it caused him to believe that, ‘I’ve arrived.’ First of all, he was an alternate for the Pro Bowl. Pro Bowl voting is idiotic anyway. I’m not saying it was the perfect storm of events, but the one thing when Bill got very excited about him back in 2007, I think he didn’t know at the time that he wasn’t going to be the worker bee who really loved the game of football.”

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, kerry collins, Peter King, Peyton Manning



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