End Of An Era In Indy?

Has Peyton Manning been totally forthcoming not only with the Indianapolis Colts, but Colts fans and the media? Will it eventually lead to a parting of the ways in Indy?

Has Peyton Manning been totally forthcoming not only with the Indianapolis Colts, but Colts fans and the media?

Citing NFL sources, SI.com reported Wednesday that Manning has gone through four medical procedures/surgeries on his troubled neck in just under two years. Up to now, it had been believed that Manning had undergone only three surgeries/procedures on his neck to date.

According to the SI.com report, Manning's last surgery indeed was Sept. 9, 2011, when he underwent neck fusion surgery. But contrary to past reports that a previous surgery to repair a bulging disk occurred on May 23, 2011, Manning reportedly underwent yet another procedure some time during the period between May 23 and Sept. 9, although the exact date is not known as yet, according to the NFL sources that SI.com cited.

Manning, who missed the entire 2011 season recovering from the variety of surgeries he's undergone, continues to insist that he'll be able to play in 2012, but the Colts have been holding out for more evidence of his condition and ability to return to the huddle. Wednesday's report Will Likely not help bolster his insistence that he'll play.

SI.com's report said all four procedures that Manning has undergone were on the right side of his neck and that the same surgeon who performed surgery on Manning's bulging disk last May also did the new, previously unknown surgery.

Neither Manning nor his agent would comment on the new information that has come to light.

Manning is owed a $28 million roster bonus by March 8. The Colts are expected to use their first-round pick in NFL's college draft to choose a quarterback that could potentially be groomed to eventually become Manning's successor.

However, Manning turns 36 in March, as well, and if the Colts decide to release him and make him an unrestricted free agent, they would be able to save that $28 million bonus and apply it to their overall team salary cap, which could also give them some latitude in signing potential free agents, including the possibility of signing a veteran free agent QB that could bridge the gap between Manning and the time it would take for a top draft pick to learn the Colts' system and move into a starting role.

Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay are due to meet within the next week to determine the quarterback's future with the Colts -- if there still is one remaining.

"We want this to be his decision," Irsay told ESPN on Tuesday. "We want him back if he wants to come back. We can work out the contract if he wants to work it out. It's going to be Peyton's call.

"It's a two-pronged thing. The first is if and when the nerve regenerates and whether it allows him to play at a high level. But I always want Peyton to understand the risk-rewards about playing. We want to make sure he understands the long-term aspects of his health in trying to play."

Translated: Manning may have to take a pay cut if he stays with the Colts.

"We can work out the contract if he wants to come back," Irsay said. "We want him to make the call. He's earned that. We want him to have the chance of finishing his career here if that's what he wants to do."

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