INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - No Brett Favre? No problem: The Colts are bringing another veteran quarterback out of retirement, hoping Kerry Collins will be a solid back up plan in case Peyton Manning isn’t healed by the regular season.
The 38-year-old Collins retired in July after 16 seasons in the NFL. He had faced free agency after his contract with the Titans expired, though he said he still wanted to play.
Manning is still recovering from neck surgery in May. Irsay had been public about the team’s search for someone else with third-year veteran Curtis Painter, longtime backup Dan Orlovsky and undrafted rookie Mike Hartline the only other quarterbacks on the roster.
Instead, it will apparently be Collins on the sidelines once the season begins Sept. 11 at Houston.
In 195 career games, Collins had a 55.8 completion percentage and threw for 40,441 yards, 206 touchdowns and 195 interceptions.
He was the fifth overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 1995 draft after playing at Penn State. Besides the Titans, he also played for the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Oakland Raiders.
As a starter, Collins led his team to the playoffs four times, including a Super Bowl appearance with the Giants in the 2000 season.
Painter has started both preseason games this year, completing 8-of-16 passes for 95 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. In Friday night’s 16-3 loss to Washington, Painter managed only one first down and couldn’t get the offense past its 29 despite playing the entire first half.
He hasn’t played in a regular season game since 2009. Orlovsky has played in 13 games in six NFL seasons.
The Colts have been optimistic that Manning will be back.
Manning, who signed a five-year, $90 million contract in July after the 4 1/2-month lockout ended, has started all 208 regular-season games in his career and 19 in the playoffs. His streak of 227 consecutive starts is No. 2 all-time among quarterbacks, trailing only Favre.
The only other time his streak was in jeopardy was 2008 when he missed all of training camp and all the preseason after undergoing surgery twice to remove an infected bursa sac from his left knee. He struggled early that season before going on to win the third of his four MVP awards.
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