I don't mean sadly as in I was entertaining the thought of him in a Vikings uniform. As per the several discussion's here on DN, most know I was pretty much against that. The sad part is, according to Yahoo Sports, it's looking very certain that Manning will not be returning to the NFL as a player. More after the jump.
In the article from Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports, it appears that the nerves in his neck have been taking their time to heal. Also, it appears the nerves got to a certain point in healing and have not progressed any further. Since Manning began passing practice in December, his velocity has not improved, which the sources consider will not improve ever, and more then likely has indicated his playing days are at an end.
The article also goes on to say that several doctors who have worked with the type of injury that Manning has suffered, say the risk of trying to play is too great. While it's not saying what that risk is, I personally would imagine some sort of paralysis in the best case scenaro. Very scary indeed. Now some may consider this next part biased or as an "ah ha!!!" statement, but according to the article, the doctors would reccomend, if employed by the Colts, to cut Manning before the $28 Million bonus is due. But I would be looking at this myself from a purely business stand point, no matter how much it sucked.
Another blow to Manning, this has not been an injury observed in a QB before. While they do say that the total healing time has only been half of the total 12 months, what they are seeing so far in rehab has been very telling. Enough so that the Colts are more then likely to cut their losses now. And if they do, I highley doubt any team, regardless of their own QB situation, would be willing to pay Manning the money he has been earning up to this point. Though Manning does appear so far to be optimistic about his chances of playing again.
So, it really does become a non factor in the Vikings scheme of things to take a gamble at signing someone who more then likely is done. The odds, according to the article, and many before it, and my personal gut feeling, is that Manning is done as a player. Though I'm sure he would probably make a hell of a QB coach to start a coaching career. Now that type of angle, I would love to see Manning on the Vikings sideline. But at this point, and in my opinion, the best case if Manning were to actually make it through this injury and play again, I can only see him being effective as a back-up. And that isn't Manning. He won't be the one who will accept being remembered as a shell of a player, a once proud QB that all others were judged against, who should have walked away but instead held on to a faint memory of greatness. If indeed the injury is as bad as it appears, and the rehab is not going as well as was hoped, he will more then likely walk away.
While I am sure this debate will continue till we know for sure, I am 100% confident that there will not be a Manning playing for the Vikings in the near future, let alone the NFL. We may soon be hearing Coach Manning somewhere in the NFL someday. Personally, I can't see him playing in another uniform, it just wouldn't be right. If he does indeed retire here shortly, I do hope it's with the Colts team, not with another.
God speed Manning and may your injury get better soon.