Thousands of American football lovers got a heartbreak as the ESPN reported on Wednesday Peter Manning, for the first time in his career, will not be seen wearing his team jersey against the Houston Texans on Sunday at Houston.
On May 23, Manning underwent a neck surgery and was expected to recover by the beginning of the training camp. The recovery, however, took longer than expected and his chance of playing was officially ruled out on Wednesday.
Ever since he ranked as No. 1 in 1998, Manning had created a record in starting 227 consecutive matches, including playoffs. However, his decision of not playing will now keep him behind Brett Favre's dream run of 297 straight in longest-starting-streaks in the NFL history.
Manning, during the Indianapolis era had led Colts to 11 playoff appearances, eight division crowns, two AFC titles and the first Super Bowl championship.
This time, longtime veteran Kerry Collins, who was brought out of retirement just two-weeks back, will open the game for Colts.
We always knew it was a chance, Colt's coach Jim Caldwell said. That's what doubtful means. You always have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
It's going to be a little different without Peyton. He's one of a kind. When you look across our league, most teams have had quarterbacks that have missed time. Ours has just been highly unusual.
Accepting the fact that Manning's absence will affect the Colt's game, the Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Collins is a hell of a player. He said the team is familiar with Collins who played against them in South Tennessee and He's been successful against us. My focus right now is on our team. We've got to get ourselves ready to play. It doesn't matter who you play, or whatever, it matters how you play in this business. We've got to prepare to get ready to win a game, said Kubiak. Texan team also suffers from major injury of its star player Arian Foster.
Now serious questions have been raised about Manning's career. With various reports showing a constant decline in his performance, where is it heading? Is he about to declare his retirement from the game or he will make a comeback? Even if he comes back, how meaningful and effective that would be?
Although Manning's $90M contract extension will keep him in the game till he turns 40, his ailing health condition and last years' mixed performance do not let the experts be very optimistic about him. Colts, however, might never overcome the absence of Peyton Manning.