Though hardly a surprise, considering he underwent a third neck surgery in the last two years, the Colts made it official that Peyton Manning will not play football again until next season, at the earliest.
Team owner Jim Irsay made the announcement Monday morning at a breakfast meeting with Super Bowl donors, per WISH TV in Indianapolis. This season's Super Bowl will be held in Indianapolis.
The announcement came just hours after the Colts fell to 0-3 with a 23-20 home loss to the Steelers in a nationally televised game.
UPDATE: Avis Roper, the team's public relations director, has clarified Irsay's remarks to say that there has been no official determination in Manning's situation. "There has been no change in Peyton Manning's status since our last statement on Sept. 8," Roper told us, referring to the Colts' confirmation of Manning's second neck surgery this year. "He is in the process of healing and rehabbing from his recent surgery. The team will inform everyone when that status changes."
The Colts confirmed on Sept. 8 that Manning had fusion surgery in his neck, calling the procedure "uneventful." Manning, who previously underwent surgery in May, had hoped to be ready for training camp, but only practiced sparingly late in the preseason before being shut down again.
Meanwhile, Colts coach Jim Caldwell said after Sunday night's loss that he'll re-evaluate the quarterback position, leading to speculation that he may be about to pull the plug on former Giants quarterback Kerry Collins. The Colts brought Collins out of retirement and signed him to a two-year, $14 million deal that pays him $4 million this season. Curtis Painter would replace Collins if Caldwell makes a change.