For the first time in his 13-year career, Peyton Manning will not be the starting quarterback behind center for the Indianapolis Colts this weekend in the season-opener against the Houston Texans. The All-Pro slinger will bring to an end a streak of 227 consecutive starts – every game of his NFL career with the Colts – dating back to 1998.
Manning will be sidelined to start the 2011 season while he continues to recover from off-season neck surgery performed in May to repair a nerve. The veteran QB has stated that the lack of a full training camp has hindered his recovery process. Manning did complete a limited practice last week before cutting the workout short due to complaints of back pain. Team doctors re-evaluated Manning and instructed him to hold-off any more workouts until more tests were conducted.
“To say I am disappointed in not being able to play is an understatement,” Manning said in a release from the team. “I simply am not healthy enough to play, and I am doing everything I can to get my health back. The team will do fine without me, and I know for sure that I will miss them much more than they miss me.”
Manning signed a five-year, $90 million contract extension in July, months after his surgery was performed. The Colts’ captain reduced his asking price by $10 million to ensure select Colts veterans would be resigned.
NFL veteran Kerry Collins was brought out of retirement two weeks ago when the Colts signed him as a back-up plan in case Manning would not ready to start the season. Collins has been preparing ever since to be the starter in the season opener. Collins will be the first QB not wearing No. 18 to start for the Colts since current San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh opened the 1997 season for Indianapolis.