Thursday, February 2, 2012

Colts QB Peyton Manning Cleared To Resume Playing Career

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has been medically cleared to resume his playing career, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports.

Manning has undergone three neck operations over the last two years, including two during 2011 that kept him off the football field for the 2011 season. Manning had a cervical fusion surgery performed to repair a damage nerve in his neck that caused weakness in his right arm.

Despite a report from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports that Manning's recovery had plateaued, with the strength slow in returning to his right arm, Manning stated this week that he has no plans to retire. The ESPN report notes that while Manning could play this Sunday, the nerves in his right arm have not regenerated to a satisfactory level and that the medical review is "not a safety issue; it's a performance issue".

Being cleared medically could help Manning in his expected debut on the NFL free agent market.

Franchised last off-season, Manning signed a five-year, $90 million contract after the lockout ended. Manning received $26.4 million between his signing bonus, roster bonus and base salary as part of that contract, which also includes a $28 million option bonus that can be paid from February 7 to March 8. If that option bonus is exercised, Manning will pocket that money plus $7.4 million in base salary in 2012.

However, the Colts have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, which they are expected to use on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. With Luck's contract calling for $15 million in signing bonus and base salary in 2012, the Colts are not expected to pick up Manning's option as it would mean spending $50 million on the quarterback position next season. The proration from Manning's signing and option bonuses would also hamstring the franchise from a salary cap perspective if Manning were released or traded.

source:  Mac's Football Blog
author:  Brian McIntyre

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