Peyton Manning makes plenty of visits, but no decisions
Where is Peyton Manning? The Dolphins, Titans, Broncos and Cardinals are among the teams that would like to get the former Colts quarterback to don No. 18 for them. His decision remains one of the biggest stories of the NFL offseason. So what’s the latest? Cindy Boren is tracking updates at The Early Lead:
Peyton Manning, looking for work after his release by the Indianapolis Colts last week, met with Miami Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and other team officials Monday in Indy, according to the Miami Herald.
Manning also intends to meet with Tennessee Titans Coach Mike Munchak, who was a teammate of Manning’s father, Archie, on the Houston Oilers in the 1980s. In addition, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen/Adam Schefter report that the Titans are recruiting guard Steve Hutchinson, a Manning friend, as well.These interviews come after an intense weekend in which he visited the Denver Broncos on Friday and the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Meetings with Manning, according to reports, are football-centric. The former Colts quarterback, recovering from neck surgery, was not believed to be throwing for any of the teams he visited, but he found time to fling it to his former Colts teammate Brandon Stokley, during his stay in Colorado.
“I’ll put whatever reputation I have on the line behind that guy right now,” Stokley told the Denver Post’s Mike Klis. “He looks great.”
Washington never made it onto Manning’s travel itinerary. But Post columnist Tracee Hamilton says she thinks the Redskins made the right call spending draft picks on Robert Griffin III instead of money on Manning.
What he didn’t do in either Denver or Arizona, if reports are to be believed, is throw a ball. Yet he is poised to sign with someone, perhaps early this week. The Dolphins are still interested; Tennessee owner Bud Adams is waving his hand like Horshack, trying to get the former Vol’s attention. All, again, without the former Vol throwing a pass.
Is asking Peyton Manning to have a catch insulting or savvy? Granted, the guy’s all-everything. But the trophies and the Super Bowl ring came four surgeries ago, he missed the entire 2011 season and he’ll be 36 in a few weeks. Apparently, however, those aren’t enough reasons to request the guy toss a few balls around the practice facility. As for the outcome of those surgeries, teams have the word of Manning’s surgeon that they were successful. And that’s it. Presumably, the winning suitor will ask for some demonstration before actually inking a deal.
Yes, Manning’s health is still a big question mark. Any comeback attempt is a high-risk, high-reward situation — for Manning and the team that signs him. Cindy Boren has details:
The uncertainty may be particularly troubling for the Miami Dolphins, who are going all in on the Manning Sweepstakes. After all, they passed on the chance to sign Drew Brees in 2006 because he had had shoulder surgery and, Armando Salguero writes, “that memory may still be roaming the halls at Dolphins camp.”
The risk is more significant for Manning himself, but his doctor has cleared him to play and his father has said he is not concerned about the possibility of a catastrophic injury. Other medical experts, who have not treated Manning, concur.
Wellington K. Hsu, a spine surgeon and assistant professor at Northwestern, told USA Today that the area of the single-level anterior fusion “is probably stronger now than it was before the surgery because he has a solid, bony fusion.”
The larger issue is Manning’s arm strength, according to Dr. Robert S. Bray Jr. of the DISC Sports & Spine Center. “His risk really is very low,” Bray told the Boston Globe. “If I was a team, I’d ask, ‘Did [the fusion] heal? Do you have a CAT scan that showed it healed? Is the rest of neck in pretty good shape?’ If those two answers are yes, then it gets down to, ‘Okay, get out on the field and show me you can perform,’ because it will only get better from here with time.”
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