It has been widely acknowledged that Peyton Manning has had three surgical procedures on his neck over the last two years. But there's now word that Manning actually underwent a fourth procedure sometime between May-September last year.
Don Banks of SI.com reports that Manning underwent the procedure following another surgery to repair a bulging disk on May 23 in Chicago. Manning underwent neck fusion surgery on Sept. 9 in Marina Del Rey, Calif. Banks reports the same doctor who did the procedure on Manning in Chicago did a follow-up procedure sometime before the neck fusion surgery was done.
All this comes at a time when Manning's future in Indianapolis - and the NFL, for that matter - remains up in the air. Colts owner Jim Irsay told the Indy Star yesterday that he was open to restructuring Manning's contract in hopes that he can resume playing at some point next season. Manning is due a $28 million roster bonus on March 8, and it is believed the Colts will decline to make that payment. If the two sides do not agree on a restructured contract, Manning would be released and free to sign with any other team.
His health is already a big factor in deciding his future, and the revelation that there has been a fourth surgical procedure might prompt other teams to remain cautious about signing Manning to a new deal. Not only that, but Banks reports the Colts are concerned that Manning has developed bone spurs in the area near the neck fusion, a problem that could require even further surgery.
Banks also reported that Manning lobbied to play near the end of last season, but that the team's medical staff wouldn't clear him because of lingering problems associated with the multiple surgeries.
The Jets have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Manning, although the team has consistently stated that Mark Sanchez remains the starter. The fact that there may be further complications with Manning's neck might cause the Jets to scratch Manning from their potential plans altogether - if there ever were any. Not only that, but the team retained quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, another indication that they're prepared to continue with Sanchez as their No. 1 passer.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan declined to comment on Manning at a luncheon today on Long Island.