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Colts' Irsay still evaluating Manning's return from neck surgeries

  • By NFL.com
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As Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay looks at the future of his team, he envisions an organization with a new general manager and possibly a new coach.

When it comes to his quarterback, Peyton Manning, he can't say with any certainty whether or not there's any football left in the four-time NFL MVP.

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"I've always said that, first and foremost, it's a medical situation, a health situation," Irsay said during a news conference Monday. "Is it safe for him to go on the field? Is it something that he's healthy enough to resume his career?

"That to me has always been the most important decision. That's something we're continuing to see where we're at."

Questions loom over Manning's future in Indianapolis. Manning missed the entire 2011 season while recovering from his third neck procedure in the last two years. Only in recent weeks did his rehabilitation move into the phase where he was able to begin throwing again.

The Colts kept Manning on the active roster the entire season in hopes that he could practice in December.

Complicating Manning's future is the fact he's due a $28 million option bonus in March. The Colts own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and Irsay left little doubt as to what direction the team is headed.

"Clearly we're in a rebuilding stage," Irsay said. "There's no sugar-coating that. The decisions coming up are crucial."

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