Peyton Manning's crazy admission: 'I can't feel anything in my fingertips'

Back in 2011, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had three surgeries on his neck. Since then, Manning told The MMQB, “I can’t feel anything in my fingertips. It’s crazy. I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said, Don’t count on the feeling coming back.

“It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, Today’s the day! Then it’s not.”

Listen: this is just ridiculous. An NFL quarterback plays every single week without feeling in the fingertips of his throwing hand. Not only that, but Manning's numbers are actually better across the board with Denver than they were in Indianapolis.

Peyton Manning's Performance
TEAM COMP % YPA TD % INT %
Colts (Pre-surgeries)
64.9 7.6 5.5 2.7
Broncos (Post-surgeries)
67.7 8.1 7.1 2.0

The sample size is obviously smaller (three years compared to 14) and weighted by his ridiculous 2013 season, but it should be noted that his completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown rate and interception rate have all been better in each of his three seasons with the Broncos than they were over the course of his Colts career, so it's not exactly a case of one great season throwing things off.

The only time Manning hasn't looked like the same quarterback in Denver was down the stretch last season. Manning blames that dip in performance on a bug he picked up before the team's December matchup with the Chargers, which he says caused the quad issue that gave him problems throughout the rest of the regular season and playoffs.

“I threw up all night,” he said. “Then, in the game, I moved to the right on a simple scramble and my quad cramped on me. It lingered. I couldn’t shake it the rest of the year.

“I really studied it hard this offseason, whether it could linger into this year or whether it was isolated. I just think I got dehydrated, and that caused it. I don’t think you can blame it on my age. It was just an isolated thing. I’ve made it through every other season, and this off-season I went through a state of the union physically, if you will, and I started training earlier and made some dietary changes.”

Manning says he feels much better entering this season, but Broncos GM John Elway indicated the team will likely put him on a Tony Romo-esque rest plan that involves not practicing on Wednesdays this year.  “I think that’s the plan right now,” Elway said. “I think he’d feel better right now if he takes Wednesday off. His health is not a concern. His freshness is a concern.”

Peyton's been playing without feeling in his fingertips. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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