On keeping Peyton Manning on the roster

The Colts thought about placing Peyton Manning on injured reserve recently as injuries stacked up, but found a way to stick with their plan. Team president-turned-vice chairman Bill Polian said the team’s intention is to keep the quarterback on the roster all season in the hope that he will be able to practice with the team late in the season.

From Polian’s Monday night radio show:

"I think it's important for [Manning] to feel like, 'Hey, I'm back, I can do the things that are necessary to say I can play like I want to.’ The bottom line is he needs to feel good about being back and doing the things he wants to do."

But an appearance by Manning in a game sounds unlikely.

"I'm not sure we would necessarily play him in ballgames with our offensive line as beaten up as it is right now,” Polian said.

Those offensive line injuries made the Colts consider putting Manning on the shelf. But they made roster moves instead last week, including putting quarterback Kerry Collins (concussion) on IR.

Why Manning is not on IR has been a hugely popular question.

I’ve argued that it’s not a big deal to keep a roster spot for him so long as the team doesn’t have eight players with injuries that keep them out of action on a given Sunday. The Colts have to deactivate seven players for every game anyway, and if they don’t need Manning’s spot for someone else, then they aren’t giving up anything on game day.

But in the loss to the Titans on Sunday, both running back Joseph Addai (hamstring) and guard Mike Pollak (hamstring) were in uniform but did not play.

That means the Colts played a 44-man roster as opposed to 46, a decision that could put the team at a disadvantage.

Polian’s weighed that and decided being a bit thin on a Sunday is worth the trade off to keep alive the chance for Manning to practice down the line.