Peyton preparing for Super Bowl on Sunday against Seahawks.
New York Giants star Eli Manning has revealed he feared that his brother, Peyton Manning, “was done” after he underwent multiple neck surgeries.
The 37-year-old first had surgery back in May 2011 to repair a damaged nerve that was causing weakness in his throwing arm.
After playing catch with his brother, Eli has revealed that he was really struggling to see how his elder sibling would be able to return to the top of his game.
“I saw him after that first surgery, this neck surgery, and I was pretty much convinced that he was done,” Eli Manning said on NFL Network, as reported by ESPN.
“There was no way he could come back and play football. That first time he went and we were just throwing it in the backyard of our house. We’re throwing 15 yards away, and it was a lob. He couldn’t throw 15 yards on a line. It had no pop.”
Peyton eventually went on to have three procedures in total across 19 months, as after the initial surgery wasn’t successful, he decided to go back under the knife to correct the issue.
It appears to have worked out well for him after initially having to sit out the 2011 season and struggling in pre-season ahead of the 2012 campaign, as he now looks ahead to his third Super Bowl appearance at the MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Cooper Manning, the pair’s oldest brother, was forced out of the game with his own neck issues, but after a record-breaking season in 2013 where he threw 55 touchdown passes and had 5,477 passing yards, Eli is now inspired by his brother’s comeback.
“Sure enough, he’s been able to do it, and even this year, he’s been stronger, his arm strength’s been stronger, and he’s been better than ever,” he said.
“So it’s been an amazing journey for him and what he’s overcome and for me to watch him to go through it, and the dedication to work has been inspiring.”
Peyton will be looking to round off the year in style when he leads the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, and it will likely be the ultimate test as he comes up against the toughest defense in the NFL.