It is now official: No. 18 won't be starting under center in Indy for the first time since 1997.
Colts vice chairman Bill Polian said on ESPN Radio Wednesday that Peyton Manning has been ruled out for the team's season opener on Sunday against the Texans. It will end Manning's streak of 208 consecutive regular-season starts, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Manning underwent neck surgery in May, his second such surgery in 15 months. The team released a statement Monday calling Manning "doubtful" for Week One and that doctors told him not to practice. Manning had returned to practice but was experiencing soreness.
Manning, the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft, has started every game since he entered the NFL. 38-year-old Kerry Collins will start against Houston in his place.
Manning released the following statement through the team: "To say I am disappointed in not being able to play is an understatement. The best part about football is being out there on the field playing with my teammates. It will be tough not to be out there playing for the organization and our fans. I simply am not healthy enough to play, and I am doing everything I can to get my health back. The team will do fine without me, and I know for sure that I will miss them much more than they will miss me."
The way we see it
While all signs had been pointing to Manning missing the opener, it was one of those situations where you had to wait for confirmation, considering Manning's ironman streak. The Colts struggled in the preseason and have a young offensive line. Collins has weapons at wide receiver and a veteran backfield, but Sunday will be our first glimpse of a Colts team without Manning in a long time. It is expected to be a significantly different look than what we're used to.