Nearly every day a new report is going to emerge regarding the health (or lack thereof) of Peyton Manning’s arm. Some will be good news, most will be terrible, and none of them will stop columnists and fans from trying to predict his next team.
Manning playing somewhere that isn’t Indianapolis is a sexy, alluring debate. The fact that he may not be a fraction of what he was the last time he played a down of competitive football is a far less attractive conversation.
Earlier this week Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star said that he’s talked to people who’ve watched Manning throw, and they told him that his arm resembles a spaghetti noodle. Today it gets worse, because it seems that wet noodle is only capable of throwing a football in one direction.
During an appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast, NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi said that he’s done more than just speak with sources who’ve watched Manning throw. He’s talked to players on the receiving end of Manning’s wobbly ducks, and they’ve had to stand only to the quarterback’s right.
”I’ve talked to people who’ve caught the ball for him, and he can’t throw the ball to his left. He can’t throw the ball across his body because he doesn’t feel it.”
Simmons then said that Manning can still throw to one more side of the field than Tim Tebow. Zing?
These near-daily reports from Kravitz and now Lombardi are…near-daily reports. They’re referring to Manning in the present tense, describing his condition in early February. They aren’t forecasting his ability to properly and completely rehab and regain full strength in his arm. They can’t, because definitive truth is impossible to find in foggy crystal balls.
But what’s happening is that the likes of Lombardi and Kravitz are building the uncertainty and murkiness surrounding a unique injury. If Manning’s noodle arm can only throw in one direction right now, how can a QB-needy team like the Redskins or Seahawks make an investment with any confidence in a month when he becomes a free agent?
And he will become a free agent, which is a fact of NFL life in Indianapolis that was already a reality, and it’s becoming a far more obvious and clear reality as these reports continue to surface. If potential investors can’t have confidence in Manning right now, Jim Irsay can’t either.
No one can, not if Manning is dealing with a Derek Zoolander problem exactly one month before he could be available for purchase.