Two weeks hanging high above the gridiron and his fellow teammates, Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning couldn't take it anymore. Not the fact he wasn't helping out his team from competing to a defeated 0-4 record, but as he joked, hearing all comments the armchair quarterbacks holding the microphones in front of him.
"I got a bad feeling being that close to all of you in the press box," said Manning jokingly to the media. "I could hear you second-guessing every call while you are writing your stories. So I just have to get out of here."
Kansas City Chiefs for the first time since the Colts' 17-13 victory over the Bengals on September 1st in the final game of the preseason.
When told this would be the big news of the week, Manning just shook his head.
"It's really exciting isn't it, it is quite unbelievable."
But though positive signs are showing for number-eighteen, he will be the first to point out these are just slow steps towards a full, healthy recovery. But that isn't limiting his feelings to just how badly he wants to help the team win.
"They do an X-Ray on that fusion to sort of see how things are going," said Manning.
"So I got a good check-up on that, and I have always wanted to just get down there. I still am pretty limited on how much I can help. But my philosophy with Kerry, Curtis, or whoever is playing is that they have to come to me to call me. They have a lot of people in their ears between Coach Caldwell, Clyde, and Turner, and I think you have to understand that Ron Turner has to coach them a little differently then me. Telling me different ways to read things, and I don't want to interfere with that, so I'm going to try to be down there just as a resource to somehow get a win come Sunday."
A joyful Peyton wouldn't even scratch the barrier of the details about how his rehabilitation is coming along, rather just playing the fine line of admitting that he is doing a little bit more than he could before.
"I'm feeling good and that is a tough question to answer," said Manning with a broad smile. "But if you tell people that you are feeling good now, that means in two weeks that you should be feeling great and playing. But I have to be careful to not lead anybody on, but I'm in good spirits and have a good attitude."
Though this is one of the few times in which you will have seen Manning, or many of the Colts players at that matter, smiling about an occurrence during this home season. The Colts lost 24-17 in Tampa Bay this past Monday night, despite Manning's second back-up Curtis Painter throwing for two touchdowns and 281 yards. The losses seem to be weighing on his mind a bit, but he hopes that doesn't mean people will read that into as if he is feeling down about his recovery.
"I really get tired of people trying to read my body language and moods," said Manning. "I don't know how you can even do that. I would like to think that everybody is sort of down around here, because we are 0-4. I feel a little down about that a little bit."
A decision about his future for the remainder of the season has not been decided yet, but the four-time Most Valuable Player is still looking as if the glass if half-full rather than half-empty. Until Manning's team of doctors inform him that his 2011 season is officially over, or until he is told by Bill Polian that he will be placed on injury reserved, his ultimate goal is to be throwing passes in NFL games by the end of the year.
"You have to have hope until the doctors rule you out," said Manning. "Bill and Chris are in charge of the roster, and they are having a lot of injuries. If they come and say they have to make a move, I can not fight them on that. I will not fight them on what is best for the team. But until the doctors say differently, it is all that I know what to do."
Manning made sure to thank his fans for the multiple prayers, letters, and support that he is getting, and thought it was too early to rule the Colts out of a potential makeshift comeback to revitalize the 2011 season even without him. But that is as far he would go to making any comments about the current play on the field. Manning stated that he hates when injured players make statements about what is taking place on the field without them, and chose to detour questions about the current play of Curtis Painter.
However Manning would make the statement that the offense doesn't look much different scheme-wise from the view in the press box than what it does when he is under the helm. Though it took him a moment to say it.
"I think," said Manning with a pause to collect his thoughts. "I think it looks somewhat normal as far as the plays that we are running. I think that it will grow throughout the season as each week goes by. So like I said, we have a pretty basic football one-on-one. We have to find a way to protect the ball, we still are working on that. We are still eliminating those penalties, and still working on the same core principles that Coach Caldwell has preached that has been our core philosophies."
But Manning, who seems to be more patient about his recovery than the fans, media, and organization, knows he still has a long way to go. But until then, he plans to make the most of his situation.
"I'm trying to use that time that I have effectively to grow. Like I said, I have had a good attitude and I think it's a test. I hope I pass, and I feel like until I get back out there it is a test. But I think I am doing alright so far."
Manning to be on sidelines against Chiefs, but patient about full recovery
Manning's neck maybe hurt but his sense of humor is still intact, and Thursday afternoon he announced he's taking the next step towards a healthy recovery on the field.