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Tony Dungy Believes Peyton Manning’s Neck Injury Traces Back to 2006 Hit

Peyton Manning recently had his third neck surgery and is expected to miss at least 2-3 months. Many people wondered how Manning sustained the injury given that few of us had heard he was experiencing neck problems. Peter King reported Saturday night that “Peyton’s current neck trouble stems from hurting himself working out at Indy HS last spring.” Indianapolis Star writer Phillip B. Wilson says the pain in Manning’s neck started at least in February. Former Colts coach Tony Dungy thinks the injury goes back even further than that. He traces the problems back to a 2006 hit.

From Cindy Boren at The Washington Post:

His neck problems prompted his former coach, Tony Dungy, to pinpoint the moment of their origin: an Oct. 22, 2006, game against the Washington Redskins. Talking with Peter King on NBC’s NFL preview show Saturday night, Dungy recalled that Manning’s neck was wrenched and his helmet ripped off when he took a low hit by Andre Carter, followed by a high hit by Phillip Daniels. The anecdote was relayed by King, who said that Manning stretched his neck when he got up and shook his right arm “as if trying to get the feeling back in it.”

Dungy says that Peyton called a timeout after the hit and told backup quarterback Jim Sorgi to get ready to enter the game. Peyton told the team he could only stay in the game if they ran the ball and that’s what they did. Dungy says the team sort of forgot about the neck injury after halftime. Peyton threw for 244 and three touchdowns in the second half and the Colts won the game. They went on to win the Super Bowl that season so obviously the neck injury didn’t bother Peyton the rest of the season, but as we’ve learned from car crashes, the after effects from neck injuries aren’t always completely known until months, if not years, after the original incident.

There is little doubt the hit Dungy described at least contributed to Peyton’s problems. Here’s wishing Peyton a speedy recovery. We’d like to see him back playing on Sundays and obviously the Colts would too.

UPDATE: Phillip Daniels defended himself on Twitter after the story emerged, saying:

“Funny how Tony Dungy is tracing Manning’s neck problem back 5 years ago. I still to this day think it was a good hit and only fined because of who the QB was. Andre pulling him forward and my arm across his chess going opposite direction and he falls to his knees causing my arm to go higher. Refs saw same thing so that’s why there was no flag. Sometimes as a QB you have to know the end of the road and get down instead of trying to make a spectacular throw. I have never been a dirty player so him getting hurt in that game was not me trying to hurt him but rather him being in crazy position. I think he has thrown for a million yards since then and taken a few other hits since 2006.”

It’s understandable why Daniels got defensive, but I don’t believe Dungy’s intent was to cast blame. I just think he was trying to paint a broader picture of the injury for us to understand the nature of it and how it occurred.


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  • Anonymous

    dungy is always right

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  • Anonymous

    It’s funny how the human body is quicker, faster and built to deliver more violence in pro sprots yet it’s BRAIN continues to be stuck in the early years!  Everyone agrees that sport players are performing at higher levels because of better diet and better medical conditions.  What’s surprising is the pro player continues to sluf of rules for safety.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that a standing object will suffer great damage from a moving object..  Especially if  that moving object is of larger mass!  Why players and fans can get that through their heads is beyond me.  I am all for the new rules changes.  A QB laid out spread eagle on the turf is something I don’t  want to see during a football game.  And if an offending player continues to violate the new ruiles I say fine them and fine them HARD!  Piddly fines won’t do it.  Hit’em hard.  Like 150 to 200 hundred thousand.  That’ll wake them up.  Wake them up REAL  QUICK!!!     

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmy-Hightshoe/100001557132873 Jimmy Hightshoe

    That’s ridiculous. Football has always been a sport of big hits. There are no rules preventing a QB from being sacked. If the hits are coming after the ball comes out and the defender is not already in the process of making the hit then yes, fine the defender. The NFL has no interest in seeing it’s star players not on the field because that’s what puts fans in the seats and that’s what the rules are about. Manning has enjoyed playing behind an excellent offensive line most of his career and taken fewer hits than most. But compare a the game now to the game of eighties. Watch Joe Monatana get rocked by Jim Burt of the Giants or Lawrence Taylor breaking Joe Thiesmanns fibula like a twig.A lot of those plays would be penalties now and it takes away from the game. This isn’t two hand touch. When Eli escapes a sack against New England in the Superbowl and completes a pass for a first down that leads to the winning score it’s an exciting play. With a two hand touch rule that play doesn’t happen. We can’t have it both ways. The QB’s have to be smart enough to get the ball out on time or they’re going to take the hits.

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