Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay said Monday that he won't rule out a return this season by injured quarterback Peyton Manning, calibrating the odds at "slightly less than 50 percent."
While that's higher -- in fact, much higher -- than I expected, it still begs the question: Why would Peyton Manning return at all?
I mean, if it's December, and the Colts are buried in the AFC South why would Manning or the Colts risk further injury by having him play out the string to a lost season?
"Each season connects to the next season," said Irsay, here for the NFL fall meetings, "just like when we were 3-13 in 1998 (Manning's rookie year) and were 13-3 in 1999. Each year connects, and there's a thread that runs through your team. You want to get better, and if you're getting better in December that can carry through to next year. "
Despite what Irsay says, there isn't a lot of benefit to having Manning return from major neck surgery and risk more injury this season. Unless you have extremely deep rosters, Manning probably shouldn't be on yours.