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Colts quarterback’s streak in jeopardy

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Associated Press
September 6, 2011
— The unthinkable suddenly seems possible in Indianapolis—opening the season without Peyton Manning.

The four-time league-MVP who has never missed a start in his NFL career is doubtful for Sunday’s game at Houston because of lingering soreness in his back following offseason neck surgery. If Manning sits, it would be the first time the NFL’s active iron man missed a meaningful game after 227 consecutive starts including the playoffs.


“I hate it for Peyton,” said Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday, one of Manning’s closest friends. “You want him to be healthy, you want him to be back, but you want him to take care of it, too.”


The question is whether the Colts can survive without their franchise quarterback, whose streak stands second in NFL history to Brett Favre’s among all QBs.


Team officials have not said how much longer it could take Manning to recover.


The only time he missed a regular-season snap because of injury, against Miami in 2001, backup Mark Rypien fumbled. The Dolphins recovered, then drove 59 yards for the winning score. Manning returned on the next series. He was later diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his jaw.


Manning had surgery to repair a nerve May 23, but the recovery has taken longer than the expected six to eight weeks that would have put back on the field for the start of training camp. Instead, Manning started camp on the physically unable to perform list and wasn’t activated until last Monday.


The team issued a statement Monday saying that team doctors re-evaluated Manning over the weekend and instructed him to stop practicing while he undergoes more tests.


No additional surgery has been scheduled.


New deal for Payton


Sean Payton has a new contract that gives him a chance to make his first NFL head coaching job a decade-long gig.


The Saints announced on Monday that Payton, who coached New Orleans to its first Super Bowl championship two seasons ago, has agreed to an extension through 2015.


The deal carries Payton through what would be his 10th season since he joined the Saints in 2006, shortly after the team’s miserable 3-13 2005 campaign.


that was defined in large part by displacement to San Antonio because of Hurricane Katrina.


“It is good news, and I would start ... by recognizing the significant role that (general manager) Mickey Loomis and (owner) Tom Benson have had in not just this contract for me, but the stability and the success we’ve had as an organization,” Payton said. “I’m very thankful to have that opportunity here for another five years.”


Including three trips to the postseason in his first five seasons, Payton has a 53-33 record with New Orleans. In his first season, he coached the Saints to their first NFC title game. In his fourth season, the Saints made the only Super Bowl appearance in the franchise’s 44-year history, beating the Indianapolis Colts.



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