With Brett Favre retired (for now), Peyton Manning leads all active NFL quarterbacks with 227 consecutive starts. But that streak — which is even more notable because it is the longest of all-time to start a career –is in jeopardy of coming to an end this season.
According to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, there is a chance that Manning will start the season on the sidelines for the first time in his career because of neck surgery that he had this offseason.
On Saturday, Irsay tweeted: "we got 2 b prepared 4 early season possibility without him."
Irsay seemed to suggest that the Colts would pursue veteran options, and even ruled out taking Ohio State product Terrelle Pryor in Monday's NFL supplemental draft, when he tweeted on Saturday: "Not taking Pryor…what VET QB would u vote 4 to sign that's out there? If sum1 has 2 hold the fort early season,who u going with?"
While the Twitter-verse surely responded with many names for Irsay, it seems the Colts owner already has his sights (jokingly or not) set on a certain gray-bearded veteran who happens to reside in Hattiesburg, Miss. (hint: his name rhymes with Frett Bavre)
On Sunday, Irsay tweeted, "Brad,I'm in Hattiesburg…is it right or left at the Firechief?"
It's not much of a stretch to assume the "Brad" that Irsay is referring to is former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, who famously drove down to Brett Favre's home to get the quarterback to return for another season last year.
Now, it's probably unlikely that Favre will be under center for the Colts at any point this season, but the team certainly has a bit of a problem on its hands if Manning is unable to get back onto the field any time soon.
If Manning is unable to go, Irsay and the Colts are left with the options of inexperienced Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky.
Manning went under the knife back in May to repair nerve damage in his neck. He has not practiced yet and is still on the Colts' physically unable to perform list.
"Bottom line, we truly do not know when he will be ready," Colts president Bill Polian told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen. "Once the nerves regenerate properly, he'll be ready. When that happens, he'll be ready to ramp up immediately. It's impossible to predict."
Manning said that he's made progress but that he still has work to do in order to be ready.
With his recent tweets, Irsay seems to be making light of the Colts' QB situation for now. But come September, it's a distinct possibility that someone other than No. 18 will be lining up under center, which might not be a laughable situation for long.