While Peyton Manning recovers from a third surgery on his bothersome neck, the elder Manning weighed in on how his son is handling life without football.

Per ESPN, Archie Manning said Monday night that Peyton is “in better spirits”, but remains unsure when — if at all — he’ll return to the Colts this season.

“I do not know. I really don’t,” Archie Manning, who recently visited Peyton in Indianapolis, said when asked if he thought Peyton would play this season. “He was sore after surgery, but he’s finally feeling a little better after a week. … He’s in better spirits. We’ll see what happens.”

After much speculation, the organization confirmed Manning underwent a third neck procedure on September 8, knocking the future Hall of Famer out of action for at least two months.

Peyton appeared at a Colts practice on Monday, but doesn’t want to become a distraction for a team that’s searching for answers — and their first win.

“He wants to be around to help the Colts but he doesn’t want to overload. He doesn’t want to be out of place,” he said.

Without the All-World quarterback under center, Indianapolis has gotten off to its worst start — 0-2 — since Manning’s rookie season in 1998. Kerry Collins, signed as a veteran insurance policy prior to the season, has proven to be far from a viable replacement, leading the offense to only two touchdowns in as many games thus far.

It’s a strange sight for fans who’ve been spoiled over the last decade watching Manning soundly orchestrate an offensive juggernaut.

Obviously, Indy would prefer to have Manning on the field, but has to treat this situation delicately as with all neck injuries. If he comes back too soon, there’s a chance he could suffer permanent damage. Some have said he’ll never play football again to be with; whether or not that’s true remains to be seen. Until he steps foot again on the gridiron, though, the Colts will be hard-pressed to break even in the win-loss column.

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