Peyton Manning is not Retiring
The only four-time Most Valuable Player in the National Football League is out of the games, but Peyton Manning says retirement is out of the question.
Multiple neck surgeries have kept the 36-year-old player out on the benches all of this season, which have led fans to speculate about the end of his Hall of Fame career. Manning has been an iron man over the last 13 seasons, and now he is struggling in recovery from three neck surgeries done over a span of 19 months.
“I have no plans of [retiring],” he said on Tuesday. “I’m rehabbing hard.”
In an earlier taped interview with ESPN, Manning remarked that all the attention turned on his condition was highly misplaced. He expressed confidence that as the week wore on, though, it would likely not be the case.
The first surgery on Manning’s neck, done in May, was triggered by a damaged nerve causing weakness on his throwing arm. The latest, and most invasive surgery, happened in September, wherein doctors fused two of his vertebrae together. It was this procedure that resulted in his missing the 2-14 season of the Indianapolis Colts. It has not been possible for him to evade the spotlight since then.
Speculation has been rampant about his recovery and the possible risks of his returning. Others wonder about whether the Colts would pay him a roster bonus of $28 million in early March, so that he would not become a free agent.
Interestingly, people have not stopped talking, as the saga has had its influence reaching right into the week of Indianapolis hosting the Super Bowl. Instead of Manning’s brother Eli being headlined against Tom Brady, the older Peyton continued to grab major news stories.
Just following about two hours’ worth of interviews with the Giants and the Patriots, reporters got a third part of media day with Manning’s impromptu appearance. He apparently intended to shift the attention away from himself and back to the game on Sunday. Unfortunately, it did not go as he planned.
Manning spent the 10-minute interview in all smiles, giving an impression of being more vibrant than he had been seen in months. “The doctors are encouraged,” he said, just after throwing to some teammates.
Of course, not everyone was successfully diverted. For example, Patriots linebacker Gary Guyton was asked about coming to Indy with the headlines full of Manning, and he apparently responded, “Oh you meant Eli?”
Meanwhile, majority of Colts fans have eagerly backed Eli, hoping to send the Patriots home with a loss from Indy. Eli also enthusiastically joined in the chatter, describing Peyton as having reached the highest level he had ever seen in football.
He added that it had always been his dream to get to the same level of play as Peyton.
Meanwhile, Peyton expressed his full support of the Giants, saying he wanted nothing but the best for Eli.
“I hope he breaks all of my records,” he concluded.