The Denver Broncos are rumored to be reaching the end of the Peyton Manning era, with the future Hall of Fame quarterback’s horrid play and mounting injuries spelling the end of the line.
Manning was pulled out of Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after going 5 of 20 with four interceptions and no touchdowns. It was the low point of a season filled with struggles for Manning, who at 39 has seen a rapid decline over the past two years as his injuries begin to mount.
Crazy Stat of Day: Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos had as many FG Sunday (5) as Peyton Manning had completions. pic.twitter.com/a5WyZxmCnT
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 16, 2015
Now there is new insight into just how banged up Peyton Manning has been this season. Reports indicate that he has been battling plantar fasciitis, an injury that made it difficult for Manning to even walk on Sunday after the game.
“Manning is battling a case of plantar fasciitis, a source informed of the injury told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on Monday morning, and has been for more than a week,” NFL.com reported. “He experienced discomfort after the turf against the Colts, and had more Sunday. There was some additional pain and inflammation, along with small tearing. It’s an aggravation of a previous injury and his status for Sunday is in doubt, as the focus now is on getting him healthy.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2015
Manning’s benching came shortly after he broke Brett Favre’s career mark for passing yards. Manning is also one win away from breaking Favre’s record for most quarterback wins of all time, but now that record appears to be in doubt.
It is difficult to tell how long it would take Manning to recover, but Rapoport said he won’t be back anytime in the near future.
“We may have seen the last of Peyton Manning for a little while,” Rapoport said on Monday.
Other athletes have struggled with plantar fasciitis, a painful condition that can linger for weeks or even months. Tim Duncan was affected for long stretches while dealing with the condition, as was Albert Pujols in 2013.
So far, the Denver Broncos aren’t feeding the rumors that Manning is done for the year. The coaching staff is standing behind Manning but not giving any time frame for his return.
“Peyton is our quarterback,” head coach Gary Kubiak said (via USA Today). “If he’s healthy and ready to go, he’s our quarterback.”
But the rumors have been mounting for some time that the Denver Broncos are ready to transition to Brock Osweiler. When Manning was waiting to announce his official decision last summer on whether he would return, sources close to the team indicated that they were ready to give the reins to Osweiler if Manning did choose to retire.
Manning himself seemed frustrated and appeared to regret trying to play despite his injury,
“Maybe that was wrong,” Manning said. “I was going in there trying to help the team, I ended up hurting the team. I’m disappointed about that.”
“I made some really bad plays and put our team in a bad spot,” Manning added.
The Denver Broncos might still be poised to make a run without Peyton Manning. The team has excelled this season largely on the strength of its defense, so a transition to Brock Osweiler could still keep them in contention for a title.
The rumors surrounding the Denver Broncos may not be clear for some time. The nature of Peyton Manning’s injury could be difficult to assess, and if Kubiak stands by the decision to return to Manning once he’s healthy, it could put the team in limbo indefinitely.
[Picture by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]