So I wondered aloud last week, in a few forums, whether the Indianapolis Colts might have some second thoughts about a long-term deal with free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning, given the fact that he's 35 and has had two neck procedures in the past 16 months. I called Colts president Bill Polian last week, and didn't hear back, and I just figured the Colts were laying low on a sensitive subject.
Not so. Polian called Monday afternoon ... from Italy. It's his vacation, the first time he's been to Italy, and he'd just visited the Colisseum. Today he's off to Vatican City. (Gave him my favorite little nugget to look for -- the lapis-blue skies at the Sistine Chapel, done so perfectly by Michaelangelo because he went on a nine-month quest to find the perfect blue stones to crush and mix in with white paint to make the right color for the skies.)
I did ask him about whether the Colts have some trepidation about signing Manning, given the two neck surgeries.
"We've got little or no worry,'' said Polian. "This was just a minor procedure to relieve a little pressure on the nerve [in Manning's neck]. I told them [Colts officials] to call me if there were any further problems, and no one's called.''
Polian was briefed on the surgery before leaving Indiana, and he said he was told this was the kind of procedure that for non-athletes might require traction. But Manning needed to accelerate the process and ensure he'd be ready for football, whenever that happens. So it doesn't sound as though this will be a major factor in negotiations for a new contract or Manning.
But I still would be wary about what this means for Manning's future, and if I were Polian and his son, GM Chris Polian, I'd be focused on finding a quarterback of the long-term future in the 2012 draft.
Terrelle Pryor update. In light of the Ohio State scandal, we may be about to see how much of an NFL prospect quarterback Terrelle Pryor is. Pryor is currently under a five-game suspension at the start of the Ohio State season, but he's scheduled to be able to return for the meat of the Buckeye schedule. However, if the NCAA investigation ensnares him further, the NFL may have to make a decision on Pryor faster than the league thought it would.
"I don't think Terrelle Pryor will play for Ohio State again,'' said Sports Illustrated's George Dohrmann, who wrote the Jim Tressel piece in this week's magazine. The reason: Dohrmann reports that a source told the magazine that Pryor "might have driven as many as eight cars'' during his three years at Ohio State.
Get your Pryor scouting reports ready, Mr. Kiper.
MMQB vacation update. Guest columnists you want for my four vacation Monday Morning Quarterbacks, according to your Tweets and emails:
-Cris Collinsworth.-Drew Brees.-Nnamdi Asomugha. (I think you all liked him last year.)-Army Sgt. Mike McGuire. (On the column for Monday, the Fourth of July.)-Joe Posnanski.-Steve Sabol, or, in his absence while he deals with his brain tumor, another smart guy like Ron Jaworski or Greg Cosell from NFL Films.-Bill Simmons.-Chester Pitts.
Most of you are dead-set against rehashing the labor dispute, but I may leave open the possibility of dueling player-NFL columns on a week when or if some significant progress happens in the labor talks. I'm still open to your nominations, and I've got a few lines out to people to see if they can and will do it. Best to send me your wishes on Twitter. Thanks.
Now onto your email:
I THINK THAT DEPENDS ON HOW GOOD THE PLAYER IS. "Did you see Drew Brees' comments in Jim Trotter's article? It got me thinking about the long-term ramifications for the most outspoken players during the lockout. Will Brees and others be at risk for some level of black-balling by owners down the road? If I were a player, this would be a real concern.''--Jim, Galveston, Texas
If the comments by Brees were made by Chase Daniel, I would say the comments might (might) have some bearing on his future employment. But players aren't going to be affected by what they say now, unless they're marginal. And Drew Brees is not marginal.
I THINK THE DEAL WOULD BE NEARLY DONE. "Could you estimate any difference between where we are in the lockout today and where the lockout would be if the players had chosen Troy Vincent as the NFLPA executive director?''--Cary, Swedesboro, N.J.
Interesting question. Vincent campaigned as a deal-maker, so I'd assume he'd have a deal very close by now, if not done. But that's one of the reasons he didn't get the job in the first place. Some players saw him as too buddy-buddy with the owners -- who he now works for as vice president of the NFL Player Engagement Organization.
WORK OUT AT YOUR OWN RISK. "With all of the player-led workouts, what happens if someone gets hurt? I assume it is on them, correct? While not exactly the same, I'm thinking of Robert Edwards getting hurt playing flag football at the Pro Bowl a couple of years ago.''--Dave Lamb, Downingtown, Pa.
Good point. Players who work out now are totally on their own as far as medical risk.
NOW THAT'S A GREAT IDEA TOO. "As far as guest MMQB columnists during your vacation, I'd be curious to hear from Plaxico Burress. He could cover a lot of ground -- on his anticipation of returning to the NFL, his fall from grace, what he envisions being different in the league and what he expects from fans upon his return.''--Adam, New City, N.Y.
We'll put it in the hopper. I like that idea a lot.