Peyton Manning Benched, Colts Kerry Collins Starter

Quarterback Peyton Manning is still sore from surgery stemming from a neck injury, and the Indianapolis Colts name Kerry Collins as the starter in NFL Game 1 against the Houston Texans.

It also means that Manning’s consecutive games playing streak will end at 277. The streak is the second longest in history among NFL quarterbacks behind only Brett Favre, whose 297-game run, 321 including the postseason, ended last season just before he retired for good.

“I simply am not healthy enough to play, and I am doing everything I can to get my health back. The team will do fine without me, and I know for sure that I will miss them much more than they will miss me,” Manning said.

“It’s going to be a little different without Peyton,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s one of a kind,” he added.

In Houston, where the Texans will be the first team in 14 years to face an offense without Manning. Instead, it’ll be veteran Kerry Collins, who was retired and home on his couch in mid-August when the Colts recruited him as a backup.

The last guy not named Manning to start a game for the Colts now coaches the San Francisco 49ers: Jim Harbaugh. Bill Clinton was president, Titanic was the hot movie, and gas was $1.50 a gallon. So now it’s up to 38-year-old Collins, who’s had three weeks to learn the complicated Indianapolis offense.

“He can throw the ball. He’s working extremely hard. Guys don’t last as long in the league as he’s lasted without a great work ethic. He’s been determined to get things right,” Caldwell said of Collins. The Colts are confident without Manning against the Texans.

Manning had surgery to repair a nerve in his neck on May 23, but the recovery has taken much longer than the expected six to eight weeks.