|No matter what Chris Traeger might tweet, Manning plans on playing football again. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
While one Manning prepares for a Super Bowl, another is just trying to get healthy. Eli is headed to Indianapolis for a Giants-Patriots rematch (even if in name only). Peyton, meanwhile, continues to recover from neck surgery that kept him sidelined for the 2011 season, played no small part in the Colts' 2-14 record, owner Jim Irsay's subsequent housecleaning, and the team's plans to take a quarterback with its well-earned first-overall pick.
Thanks to Rob Lowe, fictional Indiana native, Manning was supposedly retiring. This literally is not true.
Manning spoke Monday with the Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz about what lies ahead and it most certainly involves playing football.
“I never thought `Sodapop Curtis’ would announce my retirement,’’ Manning said, referring to Lowe’s character in the 1983 movie “The Outsiders.’’ “I always thought I would be the one to announce it. I’m a huge fan of the movie, but that caught me way off guard. I can’t explain it. I know (Lowe) is a friend of Jim’s (Irsay), and Jim sounded surprised.’’
Manning said he finally met with new general manager Ryan Grigson, who hinted that his future in Indianapolis will be determined by the owner.
"One thing he (Grigson) kind-of, sort-of told me, without really wanting to tell me, was that Irsay will be the guy I'm going to sit down and talk with. That's going to happen at some point, but we haven't had that conversation yet because we really don't need to have that conversation yet."
Manning is due a $28 million roster bonus the first week of March and whether the Colts decide to give it to him will largely be determined by his health.
"You know I don't like to say something like, 'There’s no way I can play Sunday,' then come out and play Sunday and everybody in the media is writing 'I can’t believe he’s playing,'" Manning told Kravitz. "I'm not into the drama. And I'm not into saying, 'Well, this is it, I sure have enjoyed it.' I'm not into saying goodbye. All I know is I'm still under contract to the Colts. I'm still the quarterback of the Colts That's why I'm in the building every day trying to get healthy."
Manning also lamented that the upheaval in the front office and on the coaching staff has "Everybody walking around on eggshells. I don't recognize our building right now. There's such complete and total change. … I mean, it's 20 degrees, it's snowing, the building is absolutely empty except when you see coaches cleaning out their offices," he said.
"I guess it's the reality of the football world, just not something I've had to deal with very often. But I'm in there every day, so I have to sit there and see it. Everybody's being evaluated and I'm no different. It's not the best environment."
Whatever happens in coming weeks, this much is certain: if the Colts are ready to move on from Manning, there will be plenty of teams interested in his services.
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