The status of Peyton Manning — specifically in regards to week one of the regular season — is a hot-button topic, and has been for the last several weeks. Everyone, from fans to owner Jim Irsay, has expressed concern that he won’t be able to suit up on September 11.

Now, straight from the horses mouth, comes a bit of optimism that the All-World quarterback will keep his vaunted consecutive starts streak alive — along with Indy’s chances this year.

According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, Manning reiterated during Friday night’s Packers-Colts preseason matchup that he’s optimistic he’ll play on Opening Day against the Texans.

“I sure hope so,” Manning said on the sideline during the CBS telecast of the Indianapolis-Green Bay preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I’ve never missed a game in my entire (NFL) career because of injury. I sure don’t want to start in Week 1 of this season.

“My goal is to play — not just play but play competitively. I want to help the team win. If I’m able to do so, I’ll be out there.”

After undergoing neck surgery in May to repair a bulging disc, Manning’s road to recovery has taken much longer than anticipated, leading Indianapolis to coax Kerry Collins out of retirement as a veteran insurance policy.

Manning cites the lockout as the reason he isn’t up to snuff yet. Remember, when it was in effect, players couldn’t use NFL-sanctioned facilities or consult with team doctors, and that’s proven to be a setback for many in Peyton’s predicament.

Over the length of his legendary career, Manning has shown incredible resilience and durability, having never missed a game in 14 seasons. His former coach, Tony Dungy, seems to think that won’t change this year, and stated the only way Manning won’t be on the field at Reliant Stadium is if “he’s dead.”

However, despite Dungy’s confident prediction, time is ticking with the season a little over two weeks away. If things don’t improve in a significant way, the Colts are going to head into Houston with Collins under center and Manning’s streak, currently sitting at 227 games, will be reset back to 0.

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