A day after Jim Irsay called his injured QB, “a politician”, in reponse to Peyton Manning going public with remarks critical of Indy’s recent house-cleaning, owner and (lame duck) player made a public show of a reconciliation that the Indy Star’s Phillip Wilson probably considers a P.R. exercise. “What we haven’t heard from Manning or Irsay or anyone,” writes Wilson, “is that the QB is healthy. We haven’t heard that he’s going to be healthy any time soon.”

Do you really think that nerve is going to regenerate in another month, in time to convince Irsay by March 8 to keep his star QB? You have to doubt that by now. Manning’s first surgery on this neck problem was back in May. He had the fusion in September. I’ve spoken to a spine surgeon who has said the longer that nerve is damaged, it takes that much more time to heal. It’s been eight months, and we’re still counting.

Based on what Manning has said and how he has said it, I have no doubt the guy wants to keep playing. He’s driven. And he has so much belief in himself, he refuses to accept retirement or that he won’t be able to play again some day. It’s part of what has made Manning great, this ability to go above and beyond and achieve what most can’t.

But in about a month Manning and Irsay are going to have to sit down and have their heart-to-heart chat about the future. And if Manning isn’t healthy, Irsay can’t pay that team option, no matter how strong the sentimental attachment or the backlash from Manning’s fans. Pay it, and if he can’t play, the contract does hamstring the Colts for many years to come. Then so many other fans will blame Irsay for making such a foolish decision that cost this team for years to come.