INDIANAPOLIS—With a bright orange shirt and non-descript Colts hat, he roamed up and down the sidelines talking to high school athletes who have him to thank for the opportunity they have.
Players from Brebeuf and Chatard shared the sidelines towards the end of the first half with Peyton Manning, whose 12th annual Peyback Classic brought them together to play at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The quarterback mingled-though admittedly tried not to interfere with the game in progress-and took time to acknowledge some in the crowd.
"Its always a great reminder for me before the season as to how lucky we are to still be playing football," said Manning-but when he will be remains a mystery to him and the player he interacted.
Speaking with reporters at halftime of the Brebeuf-Chatard game, Manning said he has ruled out a comeback to the game field during the preseason, and is not sure when he will fully heal from neck surgery he had in May.
"I'm doing everything I can, its hard to keep track of the hours since the beginning of camp. I think I was shortchanged a little bit due to the lockout, so I am working up hill a little bit," said Manning of his recovery. "I'm a little behind schedule due to the lockout and I'm going to need every bit of the next two weeks."
Manning would not go into specific things that are hurting in his neck that might possibly keep him out of the lineup-but the injury itself has gotten more attention the last two days thanks to Jim Irsay's Twitter account.
Following a lackluster 16-3 loss in their second preseason game against the Redskins, the Colts owner tweeted about the possibility of having to make a quarterback move because Manning's neck is not healing fast enough.
"We r evaluating the QB sitch,#18 healing but we got 2 b prepared 4 early season possibility without him,defense has 2 pick it up,big time!," said Irsay on his account.
"I don't really know what all was said, all I know is what I've been doing, and how much time I've been putting into rehab," said Manning when asked about the Tweet. "That's all I've been doing since I started camp and that's what I'll continue to do until I get healthy."
Manning has been absent from the Colts workouts throughout training camp after neck surgery in May. He was spotted throwing once during training camp but never participated in a drill.
If Manning is not available for the Colts season opener against the Houston Texans on September 11th, it would mark the first time in his 14-year NFL career that he's missed a start.
Right now the Colts backup is Curtis Painter, who has taken the first team snaps in Manning's absence. His performance has not yielded results, completing 8-of-16 of his passes in the preseason for 95 yards with an interception, leading the team only to one field goal.
Dan Orlovsky, a free agent backup brought in during training camp, has completed 11-of-27 passes for 178 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Speaking on Saturday to ESPN, Colts President echoed similar sentiments as Irsay to reporter Chris Mortensen.
"Bottom line, we truly do not know when he will be ready," said Polian to Mortensen. "Once the nerves regenerate properly, he'll be ready. When that happens, he'll be ready to ramp up immediately. It's impossible to predict."