http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/311263

Op-Ed: NFL- Peyton to miss the opener, ending consecutive game streak

Posted Sep 8, 2011 by Austin Tyler
When it comes to being an “Ironman” in sports there are only two thing we look at: How many consecutive games did they play and how long did the streak last? The only issue with that is there are injuries in sports and, some are completely unexpected.
Colts QB Peyton Manning
Colts QB Peyton Manning
flickr/ The Brit_2
Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts had a streak going and at the pace he was going he was well on his way to break the consecutive game streak set by one Bret Favre. Seeing Manning came into the league with the Colts in 1998 when they were struggling, he got the start right away and has been “Mr. Consistent” ever since.
Bret Favre holds the record with 297 consecutive starts, and Manning was right on his trail with 208. Manning was told earlier this week that he could not return to practice, and with the season kicking off tonight he will miss his first game since September 6, 1998. Manning is at 227 consecutive starts if you add in the playoffs which he has been to 11 times with 11 double-digit winning seasons, 8 divisional crowns two AFC tittles, and lets not forget he is a Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl MVP.
Manning had neck surgery to repair a nerve May 23, but the recovery process is not working in his favor. It was only supposed to take six to eight weeks, and with the lockout that would have put him back on the field for the start of training camp. In the end that is not happening, he started camp on the physically unable to perform list and wasn't activated until last Monday. After he was activated word came out that the doctors told Manning that he should not practice. This is what set the ball rolling as far as him not being able to be ready for the season opener.
Manning has been the most consistent thing going in Indy besides the Indy 500. Manning has started and played for three different coaches in during his career. He has also seen many players come and go, but the only thing that is noticeable when you turn on a Colts’ game and see the fans in the stands they all have on a number 18 jersey because Peyton is usually the one at quarterback making and calling the plays.
The funny thing about this is it is not just affecting Manning it is also affecting his teammates as veteran center Jeff Saturday has never snapped the ball to another quarterback to start a game during his pro career. In fact, no player on Indy's roster has participated in a regular-season or playoff game for the Colts without No. 18 at the controls. The most funniest situation of all is their left tackle Anthony Castonzo, was 10 years old when Manning's streak began back in 1998 who is 23-years-old right now.
This is also new to the Colts players as Manning has always been in at practice also, he is what most players would call a coach on the field. Manning sat out one week of training camp in 1998 before signing his rookie contract. A decade later, he missed all of training camp in 2008 because he underwent surgery twice to remove an infected bursa sac from his left knee.
The question just a last week was who should get most of the practice time between him and newly signed vet Kerry Collins. The question is now answered as Collins is now the man in
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charge as the Colts back-up plan. Manning did limited work at practice last week, which led to him saying he had some back pain. This forced the Colts organization to issue a statement saying that team doctors had re-evaluated Manning and instructed him to stop practicing while he undergoes more tests. No additional surgery has been scheduled.
Collins had this to say about him getting the start in place of Manning
I expect to run the offense, bottom line. Make plays when they're there, be smart with the ball, make good reads, good decisions, get us into the right plays when the situation calls for it. I'm going into this week thinking I'm going to run the offense as best I can.
The only issue for Collins will be the trust issue with wide receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark who he had not been able to work with during a game format.
Manning is less than thrilled that he will be forced to miss the game as he said this about his absence in a press release
To say I am disappointed in not being able to play is an understatement. The best part about football is being out there on the field playing with my teammates. It will be tough not to be out there playing for the organization and our fans. I simply am not healthy enough to play, and I am doing everything I can to get my health back. The team will do fine without me, and I know for sure that I will miss them much more than they miss me
That is not true, at all. The Colts players will miss Manning way more than he can ever imagine seeing he is all they know. The Colts fans will miss Manning way more than anything as they are accustomed to seeing that blue number 18 jersey trot onto the field. They will miss the hand gestures and constant moving and barking as he tries to get the play in order before snapping the ball. With the Super Bowl being held in Indy this year the thought was, maybe Manning can lead us there to be the first host team to play in the Super Bowl.
We will have to wait and see how that dream will pan out, and we will have to also wait and see how long Manning will be out as well.