Peyton Manning and Indianapolis Colts headed separate directions

      February 4, 2012 @ 02:48:56 PDT

Good things typically don't come to an end unless they end poorly, and that appears to be the road the Indianapolis Colts and franchise quarterback Peyton Manning are headed down.

Manning has 54,828 yards and 399 passing touchdowns - all with the Colts

Reports by ESPN's Chris Mortensen Thursday said Manning was medically cleared to resume his NFL career. Additional reports went on to say that Manning could be able to play right now if nerves in his arm regenerated to an acceptable performance level. No timetable is in place on when (in my mind, it's more of an if than a when) Manning will reach acceptable performance levels.

Manning's agent, Tom Condon, said Manning's rehab is going fine, but Condon doesn't know how much farther along Manning is now than he was after surgery.

That's a strong statement to me, as I find it incredibly difficult to believe a player's agent simply doesn't know where his star player is health wise. If anything, agents have a tendency to put the positive spin on things to help their client's cause.

Taking it a step further, Colts owner - and social media extraordinaire - Jim Irsay took to the Twitter sounding board Thursday evening to make it clear Manning has not been cleared by team doctors.

"Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts," Irsay tweeted.

Along with a photo of Manning, Irsay and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell arm-to-arm, the Colts released a statement Friday saying the team and Manning "remain close and unified as we continue to work through all the options that relate to his future with the Colts." This screams as a PR move to help take some of the attention off of the Manning saga while Indianapolis is a buzz about the Super Bowl.

I'm not a fortune teller, but looking at the tea leaves this one is screaming more and more like Peyton Manning will not be a member of the Colts in 2012. With a $28 million contractual bonus not far off, this situation seems close to a point of boiling over very soon.

I still believe retirement is a very strong possibility for Manning. I'm just not convinced his arm strength will return to the necessary level for him to remain successful in the twilight of his fantastic career.

Andrew Luck best start learning everything he can about the Colts, as it appears more and more likely he'll be the guy under center when the 2012 NFL season begins.

Let the rebuilding process begin!

Don't forget to stalk me on Twitter at @ryanbonini and join KFFL Tuesday through Thursday each week from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210/XM 87).

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About Ryan R. Bonini

Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA, received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.

His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports,, and many others. He has also been featured on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA, FSWA and FSTA.

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