The Washington Post

Peyton Manning should sit, Steve Young says

(Gregory Bull / AP)

His ankle hurts. He underwent an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. His knee may be dinged, too.

Peyton Manning will say only that he has “lower-body” injury and that he intends to play Sunday in the Denver Broncos’ big AFC West game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which has a defense that leads the league in sacks and takeaways.

But if the quarterback is hobbled — and, boy howdy, was he limping around last Sunday — should he take the weekend off to recover? At least one former NFL quarterback of some repute made a convincing argument for just that unthinkable thing. Steve Young, on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” pregame show, had an emphatic answer when Stuart Scott raised the hypothetical.

“My biggest problem — after I watched the playoff game against the Ravens last year, I said to myself, ‘That’s a tired quarterback,'” Young said. ” … I said ‘maybe it’s the year off and so forth,’ but he’s getting to the age where he needs to regulate his time. He needs to be careful. I said that at the beginning of the season. Here we are midseason, he takes every rep, every play, no matter what the lead is.

“He doesn’t have an eye to the Super Bowl, which is what he really wants.”

Trent Dilfer, Young’s set-mate, asked him just what he was saying.

“If you cannot protect yourself and you can’t go out there and be as productive as you could have been … is this game more important than the one in January, the one in February? No,” Young said. “I know it’s the Chiefs, [the undefeated Chiefs, Scott points out], but, Peyton, I want you to go the distance. … He’s a guy that never takes a down off and I think that at 36, 37 years old, that’s a mistake.”

Young may be right, but Manning has played in every game in every one of his seasons in the league — except for 2011, when he missed the entire season because of multiple neck surgeries. By late afternoon, it will be clear whether he practiced today and he’ll address the media.

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H/T Bill Hofheimer

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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