INDIANAPOLIS — If there’s anyone outside of the Colts and their fans who want to see Peyton Manning return to the field, it just might be someone who grew up competing against him.
Eli Manning, Peyton’s younger brother, has led the Giants to Super Bowl XLVI, which will be played Sunday night at the Colts’ home field, Lucas Oil Stadium. The elder Manning missed the entire 2011 season because of a neck injury and subsequent recovery from surgery, and that storyline has dominated a Super Bowl in which the Colts aren’t even playing.
“Peyton’s going to do everything he can to get back healthy,” Eli told NFL Network’s Deion Sanders at Media Day. “He wants to continue to play football, and I think that’s the No. 1 priority right now, get him well, get him back at the level he was playing football. That’s the goal, and if he can do that, everything else will work itself out.”
In the first Media Day open to fans, Manning drew cheers from those wearing his brother’s famous No. 18 jersey when he mentioned how special it would be to see Peyton on the field in a Colts uniform next season.
“I’d love to see him back playing football again next year in Indianapolis, and hopefully, that’s the case,” Eli said. “Obviously, there are a lot of things that will get worked out, but the No. 1 thing, the No. 1 importance to him right now is getting back to 100 percent.”
Although he isn’t surprised by his older brother’s success (two Super Bowl appearances and one title), Eli is still “just amazed” by Peyton’s throws and knows his big brother will be watching Sunday night when the Giants take on the Patriots.
“Peyton has had an unbelievable career, and in my opinion, since I’ve been watching football, I haven’t seen anyone play at a higher level than he has,” Eli said. “It’s always been my goal to get to his level of football, get to his level of play. That’s something I’ve worked on. I try to ask as many questions and get as much help from him as I possibly can, and he’s been great in giving that. He’s a great big brother, a supporter of me, and I know he’ll be rooting for the Giants.”
— Matt Florjancic, Special to NFL.com