ESPN reported today that the Colts plan to release Peyton Manning tomorrow.
It’s the end of an era in Indianapolis.
Though strange it may be to see #18 wear anything but a Colts uniform, this sort of move isn’t that big a deal, at least in the grand scheme of things. That the Colts and Manning are parting ways is similar to:
- the Giants sending Willie Mays back to New York (to the Mets)
- the 49ers trading Joe Montana to the Chiefs
- Brett Favre leaving the Packers for the Jets, then going to Minnesota
This stuff happens. It’ll probably happen to Tom Brady eventually. All this having been said, I think it’s obvious that I’m not too distraught over the fact that Peyton Manning won’t be a Colt in 2012.1. However, what I am concerned about is Manning’s decision to continue playing.
Frankly, given the issues with his neck, I think he’s fucking crazy for wanting to play again.2
Beyond pride and the “desire” to keep playing, the man has essentially nothing left to play for, save for personal satisfaction and stat-padding. He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, holds virtually every Colts passing record, and won his Super Bowl.3 More to the point, though, the man’s only 36 years old -- old in athlete years, but overall still damn young. In terms of the-rest-of-your-life health, I don’t think it’s very prudent of Manning to tempt fate by continuing to play with a fragile neck4 and run the risk of really screwing himself after he inevitably retires. If I were him, I’d just walk away. As I said, he’s got nothing more to prove and nothing more to accomplish. (I realize, though, that one more vicious hit that dings his neck, and he’s probably done.) At the very least, leaving the game as a Colt would not only please Colts fans insofar that he’d always be remembered as a Colt, but it’d save fans like me from having to endure the surreal feelings of seeing a career-with-one-team legend playing for someone else.5
Seeing Johnny Unitas in a Chargers jersey wasn’t right either, I’m sure.
Granted, I’m not a Colts fan nor do I live in Indianapolis. ↩
In a sports psychology sense, I do get it, but that’s not my point here. ↩
Which is more than you could say for Dan Marino. ↩
I still think he’s fucking crazy. ↩
I remember feeling devastated when the Niners dealt Montana to KC in 1993. To this day, my first glimpse of his #19 Chiefs jersey still makes me shake my head. ↩