Chris Weinke used to play quarterback in the NFL, and, truth-be-told, he kind of sucked at it. From 2001-2006, Weinke played for the Carolina Panthers, tossing 14 TDs and 26 INTs during that span. He has the distinction of being the only starting quarterback to 'win' his first game as a rookie (Week One of the 2001 NFL season), and then lose the remaining fifteen. His career QB rating is 62.2, putting him in Curtis Painter territory.
Weinke is perhaps better known as the 28-year-old college quarterback who guided Florida State to a 1999 undefeated, national championship season after undergoing spinal fusion surgery. The same surgery Peyton Manning had back in August of 2011.
Weinke's throwing arm went dead after he was blasted by then-Virginia defensive end Patrick Kearney during a November, 1998 game.
"I lost everything, full atrophy in my throwing arm, the nerves that control my right arm were damaged,'' the former Seminoles quarterback said. "My head was awkward and I got involved in a head-on collision.
"I had total nerve regeneration. So I had to in essence re-teach myself to throw.''
For some, they are viewing the Weinke example as one that bodes well for Peyton Manning, and perhaps it does. However, it's important to point out just how silly it is for anyone to say, 'If a 28-year-old Chris Weinke can come back from spinal fusion surgery and play college football, then a 36-year-old Peyton Manning can surely return and play professional football!'
Dumb logic. Dumb, dumb, dumb-dumb, dumb-ditty-dumb-dumb, dumb.
For starters, Chris Weinke was 27 when he had his spinal fusion surgery. Peyton Manning was 35 when he had his, and the spinal fusion was supposedly the fourth procedure Peyton under went to recover. For those of you out there that can count, or have experienced the ages '27' and '35' at some point, you know there is a big difference between getting healthy in your mid-late twenties and your mid-late thirties.
Second, Weinke returned to play college football, a game where noodle-armed nobodys can go out there and sling the football around like it's nothing. Remember the 2001 Miami Hurricanes? Remember all that talent? Who was their quarterback?
Ken Dorsey. Ken friggin Dorsey. The man had no arm, but re-wrote Miami's passing yardage record books. College football quarterbacking, in a nutshell.
Please, don't make me explain just how utterly ridiculous it is to compare returning from injury to the play college football in the ACC is to returning from injury to playing in the NFL. Just trust me, and know that one is pretty much kid's play, the other is participated in by fully grown men.
Finally, we're talking Chris Weinke here people! CHRIS WEINKE! The longest pass play in his entire NFL career was 48 yards. He averaged 5.5 per attempt.
Yes, it is a great story. Weinke deserves a ton of credit for returning to play college ball in 1999. On some level, it should give people hope that Peyton Manning could come back and play at a high level in the NFL. However, don't bet on it. Don't consider it a done deal just because a guy like Weinke was able to return. The two situations are totally different.
If anything, take hope from the fact that Manning's surgeries are happening at a time when there have been rapid advancements in medical science. Peyton reportedly went to Europe for stem cell treatment prior to the spinal fusion surgery.
Also, for anyone out there thinking that the reason people like me want Peyton Manning cut is because he's injured and may never play again... WRONG!
I don't want Peyton cut because he's still hurt, though his rehab does factor into the circumstances. I want him cut because the Colts are moving on. They are rebuilding. With the team the Colts will field in 2012, if Peyton were still here, he'd have zero chance at winning a Super Bowl.
Again, zero. Nada. It. Will. Not. Happen.
Having Peyton Manning on any roster that is not competing for a ring is a waste! What I want is for the Colts to rebuild around Andrew Luck, and for Peyton to go to a team where he could win another ring. No quarterback in the history of modern football has won two rings with two different teams and had the kinds of numbers Peyton has amassed in his career.
If Manning were to go to another franchise and win a ring, he'd be the unquestioned greatest quarterback in NFL history. Montana, Bradshaw, Elway... none of those guys won rings playing for other teams. I'd love to see Peyton do it. That is why I want him cut.