By Daniel Bukszpan
On July 30, 2011, the Indianapolis Colts decided not to mess with success. They renewed the contract of star quarterback Peyton Manning who, in a fit of generosity, agreed to five more years of service for a mere $90 million. He didn't need to be the highest-paid player in the National Football League, he said, and he would make do with the same $18 million a year that Tom Brady squeaked by on.
|Slideshow: Million-dollar sports injuries|
It turned out to be a better deal than anyone realized. On Sept. 7, 2011, after problems recovering from neck surgery he had undergone four months earlier, the Colts disqualified Manning from appearing in the upcoming season opener. The next day, he was back on the operating table. Although the team didn't put Manning on injured reserve, he would be out of commission for an unspecified period of time that could go on for months, if not the whole season.
Whatever happens, the team still has to keep paying his salary. Even if Manning spends the entire 2011 season out of commission, he will still receive the $18 million he would otherwise get for his services on the gridiron. This happens almost any time a professional athlete is injured during the season. The only question is how much money the teams will have to pay while the athlete recovers. In most cases, the costs can run into
the millions of dollars.
What are some of the most notable multimillion-dollar sports injuries? The list features the likes of John Smoltz, Jason Schmidt, Rod Smith, Gilbert Arenas and the aforementioned Tom Brady, among others.
Schmidt was signed to the Giants in 2001 and remained an essential component of the team until 2006, when he was wooed away by the Dodgers. They offered him a $47 million contract in exchange for just three years and, understandably, he took the offer.
Schmidt's fortunes reversed almost immediately. He started only three games before incurring a shoulder injury that put him on the disabled list for more than a month. He tried to return but after three games he was sidelined yet again, this time for the rest of the 2007 season. Schmidt then missed the entire 2008 season. All told, his injury prevented him from pitching in all but 10 games, only three of which were wins. Since every penny of the $47 million contract was guaranteed, Schmidt was paid more than $15 million per win.
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