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Second surgery for Manning not irrelevant

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Oct 13, 2008.

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  1. NewsGrabber Guest

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    Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
    The intrigue and mystery is part of the NFL way. Pro football isn't akin to the CIA and state secrets, but a lot of people in the middle of it tend to think and act like it is. Since reporters don't like secrets, they're part of the whole deal, digging for the unknown.
    So, you get scenarios like the one that played out this weekend, when Peyton Manning admitted to CBS' Phil Simms that his summer knee issues included not one surgery, but two.
    Colts Coach Tony Dungy confirmed that today.
    The rumor of a second surgery had floated around pretty heavily. Like a lot of people, I never had any luck confirming it and was never in position to ask him about it directly. Kudos to Mike Lombardi, of nationalfootballpost.com, who was first to report it, some time ago. Kudos to Simms for getting it confirmed from Manning himself.
    I know those who cover the team in Indianapolis on a daily basis asked the quarterback about it and asked team officials about it repeatedly. Manning and the organization didn't lie, they evaded the question. Once when he was asked directly about it, Manning deemed it irrelevant.
    He's a consummate professional and he probably rates among the best superstars to deal with from a media standpoint. He's interested in who's asking a question, and he likes to look him in the eye while he answers.
    It's his knee, it's his news and it's his prerogative to decide if, when and with whom he discusses it.
    The one thing he doesn't have ownership of is the second surgery's relevance. The work to keep it quiet can serve to suggest there was something bigger -- something worth obscuring -- going on.
    He still returned in the timeframe the team spelled out. But maybe he would have been back a bit sooner without the second procedure. And it certainly could have been a factor in a sluggish first month when he and the Colts performed well below expectations.
    I'm sure he didn't want to appear to use it as an excuse but now that he's healthier and back to form, it's news. In context, it's old news and he controlled it to make it so.
    He also made a tradeoff.
    A story that could have lasted one day if he'd addressed it at one of his weekly press conferences will extend at least four -- from Sunday when the CBS broadcast team mentioned the second surgery to at least Thursday, when newspaper reports of his response to questions about it will run.
    I expect Manning isn't concerned with that, so long as he doesn't think it will have any bearing on a Sunday football game.


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