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.
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.Google+