On Sports Stars and Getting Old

Anyone trying to suss out what's happening with the whole Peyton Manning situation need only look back on the late-career experiences of Johnny Unitas (traded), Joe Namath (waived), Brett Favre (traded), Willie Mays (traded) and -- to a lesser degree -- Joe Montana (traded), to understand that no sports icon is safe from the ravages of time and the cruel calculations of big business.

In addition to the looming arrival of #1 draft pick and alleged "sure thing" Andrew Luck, Manning has two strokes against him: The $28-million the Colts will owe him if he's on the roster in March and that fact that he's 35-years-old and has undergone three neck surgeries (because the first two didn't work) in less than 2 years.

No one is sure that if Manning makes it back onto the field he might not get hurt again the first time he gets body-slammed by a large, fast, NFL-sized human being. That's just too much money amid too much uncertainty for the Colts to swallow.

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