It’s becoming something of a monthly ritual.
Quarterback Peyton Manning, sidelined undergoing neck fusion surgery Sept. 8, meets with the Indianapolis Colts’ media corps once each month to discuss his ongoing rehabilitation process.
Manning spoke Thursday on a wide range of subjects, including the possibility of returning to the practice field before the end of the current season.
“Not a whole lot to report. Still waiting for the fusion to take place. That takes place, [surgeons] thought, between two and three months. Still going slow with that,” he said.
“I still have some of the same issues I had before the fusion as far as the nerves and the regeneration. Still dealing with that, the idea being that this surgery gave me the most stability for the nerves to regenerate. That’s still a process there.”
Albeit a slow, gradual process, Manning readily admitted.
“I kind of go a week at a time, try to get a little better each week. Still have some restrictions on what I’m allowed to do. I’m still positive about things improving. I still have some work to do,” he said.
“There’s really not a schedule and there’s really not a timeline. It’s sort of how I am at different check points. I really think I would say the first of December is probably the next check point. That will be three months from the surgery. See where I am from the strength standpoint at that time, from a conditioning standpoint. I just can’t give a prediction of where I’m going to be. I don’t think anybody really can because as I’ve said all along, this injury is one that is a little bit unpredictable.”
Manning still holds out hope of being able to return to practice at some point this year.
“If I was cleared and able to do that, it would be nice to be able to do that, to go out and participate in a team practice where everything is right there with you, even though you probably couldn’t do everything. So that’s a hope and a wish,” he said.
“If I were to get cleared to play and felt good enough to play, the doctor said it was OK, yeah, I would absolutely love to because that’s how I’m wired. That’s my job and I miss not being able to do my job. Once again, that’s another prediction type of question. I just can’t really give you that answer as to where I am. In December, I can probably give you a more realistic answer with four games left. But, sure, would I like to? Absolutely, whether it was one game, two games or a couple plays. I miss playing.”
The four-time NFL MVP understands that a majority of the team’s fans and followers don’t think that it would be a good idea to try and play this year due to the Colts’ poor start this season.
“I know a lot of people like to provide their thoughts and they say, ‘Wow, he’d be crazy to do that.’ But this is all new to me. This is my first time dealing with it. All I know is I like playing. I enjoy being out there. I miss being out there in the huddle,” Manning said.
“When I’m on that sideline looking out at the huddle, even though I’m probably just 25 yards from the huddle, it feels like I’m a million miles away. To all of a sudden have a chance to be back out there, sure I’d like to do it.”
He artfully sidestepped questions about next April’s NFL draft and Andrew Luck, Stanford’s quarterback who is expected to be the first player selected.
“That’s a lot of speculation and I don’t think that’s fair to the players that are playing, to speculate on what draft choice the Colts will have. We might win eight in a row starting Sunday and I certainly hope that we do,” Manning said.
“It’s hard for me to speculate on things like that when I’m not playing and Jeff Saturday and Reggie Wayne, these guys are out there fighting for their lives, trying to win every game. We’ve never talked about what draft pick we were going to have before during the past 13 years, so I don’t think it’s fair to do [that] now.”
As for the upcoming offseason and his contract (Manning signed a five-year deal in August but the contract is actually a one-year deal with a four-year extension), he’d prefer to talk about those issues at a later date.
“The contract, I was the one that helped construct it in the manner that it is. It was my recommendation, that I wasn’t healthy when I signed the contract and if I’m not healthy in February, I think it’s fair for the Colts to be able to make their decision there,” Manning explained.
“The other reason for the December, the ability to possibly practice would be for the Colts to have a fair evaluation of where I am. We’re in full disclosure with each other.”
• Irsay also talks — Team owner Jim Irsay also held court Thursday afternoon the Colts media. Irsay discussed a myriad of topics, most of which related to Manning or the immediate future of the franchise.
“What you want to see is for him to keep making progress, to get back to the point where you can say he’s making all the throws and doing the things he needs to do,” he said. “The truth is it’s a slow progression and to say that he would hit a ceiling Dec. 15 or Jan. 1 and he’s not going to get any better, that’s really uncertain.”
As for his plans heading into next season and beyond, Irsay didn’t offer very much.
“I think it’s too early to bury this era,” he said. “I think to say that Peyton is done and the era is over is, to me, way, way too premature. I’ve always sort of known that era would be decided when Peyton is here. But I don’t feel like that era is done.
“We have not had this much uncertainty [about the future] in a long, long time, but I think it’s exciting. I’m more interested in getting back to greatness and having a chance to sustain it. I’m not interested in middling around at 8-8 or 9-7 and sneaking into the playoffs for the next decade.”
• Harrison added to Ring of Honor? — It’s not official yet, but all indications are that former Indianapolis wide receiver Marvin Harrison will be added to the team’s “Ring of Honor” at Lucas Oil Stadium.
No date has been set, but recent tweets from Irsay about Harrison and the Ring of Honor appear headed in that direction.
• Injury list — Thursday participation: DNP — LB Pat Angerer (knee), CB Terrence Johnson (hamstring), DE Robert Mathis (rest), WR Blair White (knee). Limited — OT Anthony Castonzo (ankle), DT Drake Nevis (back), OG Mike Pollak (hamstring).
Full — RB Joseph Addai (hamstring), LB Kavell Conner (rest), TE Dallas Clark (knee), OT Ryan Diem (ankle), TE Brody Eldridge (knee), DE Dwight Freeney (rest), OT Quinn Ojinnaka (shoulder), C Jeff Saturday (knee).
It’s becoming something of a monthly ritual.
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Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Harbaugh brothers — Jim and John — to face off in Super Bowl
Get ready for the Brother Bowl.
Pagano prepares Colts for tough crowd in Baltimore
As a former resident of Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows all about the hard feelings that still run strong about the move of the Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
It's a job, not a reunion, Luck says
Andrew Luck made one thing clear this week.
He doesn’t regard Sunday’s game at Reliant Stadium with the Houston Texans as a chance to go back to his home town and talk about old times.
Colts’ meeting comes on heels of Texans’ big loss
The Indianapolis Colts are quite aware of who, and what, they’re going to be facing Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
Former Illinois star Meyers Leonard living the NBA dream
One thing is for certain. Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers doesn’t need 40 minutes to incite a crowd with a posterizing slam dunk or a big shot block.
At just 20 years of age, the former Robinson, Ill., standout who took his talents to Champaign for two years is getting his feet wet at the highest level of basketball.
Close to 300 fans, many of whom watched Leonard take the Maroons to the 2010 IHSA Class 2A state championship, rode on charter buses to watch him battle the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis last week.
Update: Ravens dismiss former South standout Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator
Former Terre Haute South High School football and basketball standout Cam Cameron was fired Monday as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, who have lost two straight and are still striving for consistency in the running and passing game.
Leonard has moment for highlight reel, but Pacers come away with victory
One night after pulling even with the Chicago Bulls for first place in the NBA’s Central Division, the Indiana Pacers at least maintained that advantage thanks to another big game from Paul George.
Titans to sport new look vs. Colts
Even though the Indianapolis Colts won the first meeting with the Tennessee Titans, interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians doesn’t think it will help his team Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Lions present many challenges for Colts
Finding a way to stop, or at least slow down, the Detroit Lions’ fast-paced offense is the primary goal of Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Wild card looking mighty doable right now: Colts improve to 7-4 with win
Don't look now, but the upstart Indianapolis Colts have jumped to the front
of class when it comes to securing one of the two available wild-card berths
in the upcoming AFC playoffs.
‘Resilient’ label fits Colts
If there is a word that best describes the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, it just might be “resilient.”
Do-or-die Bills next for Colts
Indianapolis Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is quite aware that the Buffalo Bills are coming into Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff, CBS Sports) facing a do-or-die situation in regard to the postseason.
How will the Colts rebound vs. the Bills?
The big question for the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare for Sunday's home game with Buffalo is a pretty simple one.
Colts healthy entering key road game
If all goes well during today’s short walk-through practice, it appears the Indianapolis Colts will be in pretty good health heading into Sunday’s nationally televised (4:25 p.m., CBS Sports) road game with the New England Patriots.
Colts, Patriots renew rivalry for 10th straight year
Once again, Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., it’s the Indianapolis Colts playing the New England Patriots.
Times have changed
A lot has changed for the Indianapolis Colts since a 22-17 home loss to Jacksonville on Sept. 23.
For starters, that’s the only game the 1-7 Jaguars have won this season. Indianapolis, meanwhile, has posted wins in four of its last five games and is rolling along with a 5-3 record.
Many Colts point to that loss in the third week of the season. Indianapolis led 14-3 at the half and were ahead 14-13 after three quarters of play.
In fact, the Colts led 17-16 with 0:45 remaining in the game. That’s when Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert connected with speedy wide receiver Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard pass play that resulted in the final margin of victory.
Colts not carried away with success
The Indianapolis Colts have surprised many fans and media around the NFL by getting off to a 4-3 start this season.
Not pretty, but Colts take win
Strictly from an aesthetic point of view, the Indianapolis Colts’ 17-13 National Football League win over the Cleveland Browns wasn’t very attractive.
Browns rusher has taken criticism from Hall of Famer to heart
Trent Richardson has a point to prove.
Colts wish linebackers could play more at same time
If the Indianapolis Colts could get both of their starting outside linebackers — Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis — on the field together for more than four quarters this season, it would be interesting to see how quickly the team’s defensive unit could continue its development.
Pagano gives Colts 4 days off
With a bye this weekend, the Indianapolis Colts went through a short week of practice before taking a long four-day weekend.
Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano put the Colts through workouts Tuesday and Wednesday before allowing the team to scatter across the country.
Players are due back Sunday evening as Pagano and his coaching staff hope to hit the ground running heading into Indianapolis’ Oct. 7 home game with Green Bay.
Tentative agreement reached on NFL referees' contract
The NFL and the referees’ union reached a tentative contract agreement at midnight today, ending an impasse that began in June when the league locked out the officials and used replacements instead.
“Our officials will be back on the field starting tomorrow night” for the Cleveland-Baltimore game, Commissioner Roger Goodell said after a day of marathon negotiations.
With Goodell at the table, the sides concluded two days of talks with the announcement of a tentative eight-year deal, which must be ratified by 51 percent of the union’s 121 members. They plan to vote Friday.
Colts receiver Collie will miss season with knee injury
Indianapolis Colts receiver Austin Collie will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee.
Wide receiver Avery starting to feel at home with Colts
Count Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as two of Donnie Avery’s biggest supporters.
The Colts’ wide receiver, who has struggled with knee issues the last two seasons after being the first receiver selected in the 2008 NFL draft, opened a lot of eyes in last Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Avery hauled in nine passes for 111 yards in the victory, his first big performance since joining the team as an unrestricted free agent last March.
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