Manning is owed $28 million in mid-March, a bonus that triggers the final four years of the five-year, $90 million contract he signed in July before the unpredictable chain of events that led to Indianapolis' 2-14 season unfolded.
Manning has had three surgeries on his neck, including spinal fusion, and he didn't practice or participate in team on-field activities in 2011. He will continue rehabbing at the team facility, a luxury he didn't have during the four-month lockout last year, and he is hopeful of resuming his career in 2012.
"I've always said, to me this is, first and foremost, a medical and health situation," Irsay said. "I think the key thing for me has always been, and particularly since the fusion, is it safe for him to go on the field? Is it something where he is healthy enough to resume his career, to go on the field and play at a high level but also to be in harm's way in the physical game that we have?
"What he means to the franchise, what he means to the Colts and to the league, (his health) to me always has been the most important decision for me."
Manning said, "I'll sit down with (team rehab specialist) Erin (Barill) and (head trainer) Dave Hammer sometime this week and map out our offseason plan, just get some kind of schedule during the offseason to rehab. I'll continue to do that and keep trying to get healthier and see how that plays out each week."
However, Manning will be 36 in March, and his continued health isn't certain given the nature of the surgery and the physical demands of the NFL. If Manning is healthy, Irsay has promised he will return. The Colts also own the top pick in the 2012 draft, and the top available prospects -- including Stanford redshirt junior Andrew Luck -- are quarterbacks.
--Linebacker Pat Angerer, on the Colts' effort against the Jaguars: "I thought all day we fought and we stayed together. All we can do now is heal up and get ready for next year."
--With the loss to the Jaguars, the Colts clinched the No. 1 pick for the 2012 draft. The last time Indianapolis had the No. 1 pick, in 1998, the Colts selected Manning.
--Next season, the Colts will have games against each of the two top seeds in this year's playoffs, Green Bay and New England. Indianapolis will play host to Houston, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo, Miami, Cleveland, Green Bay and Minnesota. The Colts will travel to Houston, Jacksonville, Tennessee, New England, the New York Jets, Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit.
--Colts defensive end Robert Mathis will replace Andre Carter of the Patriots on the AFC Pro Bowl roster. Carter was placed on injured reserve Dec. 20 after he suffered a season-ending leg injury at Denver.
Mathis will play in his fourth straight Pro Bowl. He led the Colts with 9.5 sacks, and has at least 9.5 in seven of the last eight seasons.
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