Peyton Manning, the mad scientist in the NFL at the quarterback position, who gave us many thrills while standing at the line of scrimmage or in the shotgun position and shouting audibles and a bag full of hand signals that for the most part didn’t mean a damn thing, but for years made defenses fear him in every part of the field, is going to be sidelined for a while.

The player who we all thought was invincible and would and who could possibly play this game until he was 40 years old, took a major setback Thursday, undergoing another neck surgery. It is reported that Manning and his family consulted several surgeons and a team of doctors who came up with a plan and solution to get a cervical neck fusion procedure. The earlier neck surgery was on May 23 to repair a bulging disc. He has now had three surgeries in 19 months.

As explained to me by a local surgeon in St. Louis, the anterior fusion procedure involves creating an incision in the front of the neck and the removal of the soft disc tissues that lie between the vertebrae and fusing the bones together with a graft. The surgeon also went on to say depending on the nerves it can or can’t ease the pain to the operated area. He could not comment further because he was not a part of the surgical team, but did say the recovery process and rehab for this procedure is normally 10-12 weeks.

I question the Indianapolis Colts team doctors and training staff as to what they were doing the last 90 days, why this took so long to get settled and why they didn’t point or encourage Manning to seek a second opinion, or did they? Who dropped the ball? Was it Manning? I’m sure the sold-out stadium of Colts fans are asking those same questions and will want answers from someone very soon.

Peyton’s father and former NFL great Archie Manning told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “He’s been on the clock since May, he didn’t make it. Obviously, it’s a big letdown, but he can relax a little bit compared to the intensity of everything he has done trying to rehab.”

While the Colts’ front office and ownership group has not placed Manning on injured reserve yet because a timetable has not been established by the surgeon, all speculation is that 2-4 months is the timetable of a surgery of this nature. For me that means he will miss the 2011 season.

The Indianapolis Colts’ face of the franchise, Peyton Manning, won’t be directing the Colts’ ship from the helm. I’m sure we will see him in a luxury box and possibly the owner’s suite until he is cleared to take snaps in game action, whether it is this year or in 2012.

It seemed like yesterday when I was asked to evaluate and compare both Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf by Bill Polian, then the general manager of the Carolina Panthers (I was an area scout for the Panthers). It is very ironic that Polian is now the president of the Colts and son Chris (the general manager) are reunited once again with Kerry Collins as their starting quarterback.