Peyton Manning’s future as the quarterback of the Colts remains in limbo, but if the four-time NFL MVP can make a full recovery from neck surgery, then he will be back for a 15th season with the team.
That was the message from owner Jim Irsay in an exclusive interview with Rich Eisen on “Thursday Night Kickoff” prior to the Texans-Colts game.
“If the situation is where he’s back and healthy,” Irsay said, “I see him come back and playing here.”
“I think there’s a lot of speculation about the draft pick and all those sorts of things,” Irsay said. “I think what people have to realize is this: The likes of Peyton Manning to be seen again is not coming, if ever, for a very long time. You’re not going to go in this draft — or the next draft — and get a Peyton Manning.”
Manning signed a five-year, $90 million contract prior to this season And with the Colts having a $28 million option due on Manning on March 8, five days before the start of the league year, Irsay was asked if money would play a factor into the Colts’ decision making.
“I don’t see that being the issue,” Irsay said. “Look, I paid him $26 million this year, and he didn’t play. I knew it was an iffy situation going in, in terms of if he’s healthy and if he’s ready to play. … The draft will be what the draft is. There’s a lot of situations that can unfold from here. If there’s a great, young quarterback there, we wouldn’t hesitate to take him.”
“I don’t see the numbers being a problem in terms of this. This is really about, is he going to be able to come back and be the old Peyton Manning and play at a very high level?”