WATERCOOLER CHAT: MANNING ERA, DALTON GETS HONOR, FAN RECOVERING

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In the NFL, Colts owner Jim Irsay said the Peyton Manning era isn’t over in Indianapolis.  Manning was cleared to practice by doctors, but Manning still said his neck is healing slowly.  Manning has made it clear that he’d still like to play in 2011 if possible, but knows he could be jeopardizing his future if he were to take a hard hit that could instantly end his career.   The neck is a fragile thing after all.  But the Colts have some larger concerns to deal with — they need to decide if they want to opt out of Manning’s five-year contract.  With their current situation, they are headed for a winless season and the #1 overall draft pick.  At that point they will have to choose:  Stick with Manning, or draft his heir apparent Andrew Luck.  And according to most experts, Manning will have no interest in mentoring Luck for a few seasons.  Plus, Luck is a once in 20-years quarterback.  He’s ready and able to play NOW and shouldn’t have to wait behind Manning.  We’ll see how this plays out.

Elsewhere in the NFL, a surprise in the October awards.  Cam Newton has the been the golden boy rookie this season.  His passing yard numbers are off the charts as he’s on pace to throw for over 4,000 yards this season… which would be a rookie record.  However, the Panthers are still only 2-6, which is why Newton didn’t get the award for Offensive Rookie of the Year.  That honor went to the Bengals’ Andy Dalton (the phenom out of TCU), who has quietly led the Bengals to a 4-0 record in the month of October.  That makes them 5-2 on the season and in line to make the playoffs.  And this is a team that EVERYBODY was writing off in the beginning of the season BECAUSE OF Andy Dalton.  This poor kid got a bad wrap right from the start, but he’s actually really good.  Plus, he’s got top wide-receiver AJ Green to connect with for many years going forward.  The Bengals could actually be quite dangerous, and Andy Dalton deserves the kudos.

Finally, in some relatively uplifting news, Bryan Stow, the Giants fan that was beaten at Dodger stadium on opening day, is slowly starting to make a recovery.  Yesterday, it was reported that he was able to write his own name.  That’s actually quite remarkable for someone who has suffered severe brain damage.  The men who attacked him have both plead not guilty to the charges, and that court case will be one that everybody in Los Angeles and San Francisco will have their eyes on.  Even so, Stow’s family is thrilled that Bryan is making any kind of recovery at all.  More reports on this should come in soon.

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