Manning: 'I simply am not healthy enough'

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning looks for a receiver during their NFL football game...

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning looks for a receiver during their NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tennessee, in this December 9, 2010 file photograph. (REUTERS/M.J. Masotti Jr./Files)

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, Last Updated: 2:39 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS - When the Indianapolis Colts open their season Sunday at Houston, they will do so without Peyton Manning under center for the first time in 14 years.

In a statement Wednesday, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback said: "I simply am not healthy enough to play."

Manning, who has started every game for the Colts since 1998, was deemed likely to be doubtful for the season opener when the team updated his status Monday. He had a second surgery on his neck in May and was only activated off the team's physically unable to perform (PUP) list on August 29.

His statement means he will officially be out, unavailable to play for the first time in his career.

"To say I am disappointed in not being able to play is an understatement," Manning said. "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."

Manning's absence means Kerry Collins will step in to start against the Texans. Collins, who had announced his retirement on July 7, was signed by the Colts last month as insurance in case Manning wasn't ready.

Collins quarterbacked the New York Giants to the Super Bowl after the 2000 season and spent the past five years in Tennessee. He has said he feels comfortable with the Colts offense.

But Collins starting instead of Manning will be an unusual sight. Manning, 35, has been the face of the Colts for more than a decade, compiling eye-popping numbers -- 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns in 208 consecutive regular season starts -- and leading the team to a Super Bowl title after the 2006 season.

He signed a five-year, $90 million contract in July -- the long-term deal that was envisioned when the team put its franchise tag on him before the NFL lockout.

But Manning's recovery slowed in the last week. The Colts said he experienced soreness in his back over the weekend, and he was forced to miss practice after the soreness persisted. He has said he wouldn't consider playing only to keep his consecutive starts streak alive.

Manning also had surgery in March 2010 to relieve pain in his neck caused by a pinched nerve and didn't miss camp. This time around, however, he was unable to meet with team medical personnel because of the NFL lockout.


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