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Associated Press
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning calls out a play at the line of scrimmage against the New England Patriots during the first quarter during an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., on Nov. 21, 2010.

A natural reaction

It is, undeniably, a perfectly awful idea, the one Peyton Manning floated out there yesterday. But it was also perfectly in character.

He said there's a chance, maybe, he could play again in 2011.

There are, of course, any number of reasons this would not be smart. Even if his recovery from neck surgery proceeds at optimum pace, it would likely be December before he could be playing again on Sundays. By which time any reasonable person has to conclude the Colts' season would be gone, anyway. So why push it -- especially with an injury that, if he's hit wrong one time, could end his career?

Nonetheless ... Manning wouldn't be Manning if he weren't entertaining the possibility. He didn't start those 200-whatever straight games without a healthy complement of bullheaded gumption in his makeup. It's part of what's made him the first-ballot Hall of Famer he is -- and part of why the Colts are in the mess they're in, because something tells me Manning, being Manning, would not have taken it well had the Colts ever decided to sign a legitimate backup.

The man's nothing if not hyper-competitive. And while that has its drawbacks, it hasn't exactly been a detriment, either.

Ben Smith's blog.