Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning underwent another neck surgery on Thursday, a procedure that has left his 2011 season in serious doubt. Forget about the fact that his streak of 227 consecutive starts has come to an end – he now needs to worry whether or not he can play at all this season.
Manning has been the Ironman of the NFL, having never missed a start in his 14-year career. In the football world, he has been the surest bet, the only thing you can truly count on despite the fluctuating nature and competitiveness of the league. Now, some sources say he could be out two to three months, while others ponder whether or not he’ll be placed on injured reserve.
Even during the off-season it never truly felt like Manning would miss significant time, no matter what the Colts front office said or the moves they made, such as signing veteran quarterback Kerry Collins as a backup. Now, the words “career-threatening” have been thrown around and just about every football fan’s world has been turned upside down.
So what does this mean for the Cleveland Browns? While this in no way celebrates a player’s injury, it’s impossible to say the Browns didn’t catch a break. The team goes to Indianapolis on September 18, and at this point, Browns fans can expect to see Collins under center.
While he is a capable quarterback, that will only be the second regular season game for Collins with this team, and he will be directing an offense that wasn’t necessarily built with his strengths in mind. It presents a real opportunity for the Browns to steal a game on the road from the still-capable, but vulnerable, Indianapolis Colts.