News24

Manning to make quick pick

2012-03-09 09:32

Indianapolis - NFL star quarterback Peyton Manning is likely to make a quick decision about where to continue his career after being released by the Indianapolis Colts.

The four-time NFL Most Valuable Player has reportedly drawn enough interest from seven clubs that they contacted his agent after he was dropped by the Colts on Wednesday after 14 years, largely over money issues.

Manning, who turns 36 later this month, missed all of last season following surgeries to repair a neck injury but doctors have declared him fit to play.

The Colts, however, went 2-14 last season without him to claim the top pick in April's NFL Draft, giving them the chance to select college star quarterback Andrew Luck and make him Manning's replacement sooner rather than later.

Manning's release means he can sign with any time at any time, but with the NFL free agency signing window for most players starting next Tuesday, signing Manning ahead of that time frame figures to be best for Manning and suitors.

Among those coveting Manning are the Miami Dolphins, whose owner Steve Ross and new coach Joe Philbin already have a solid rusher in Reggie Bush and top receiver in Brandon Marshall.

NBA stars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James of the Miami Heat are already making a push for Peyton to join them in South Beach.

"I'm just gonna put it out thr..peyton that number 18 wld look gr8 in a dolphins uniform..steve ross let's go.. marlins & heat style..All in," Wade posted on Twitter.

"Dolphins need a quarterback, and Peyton's available," James said after a victory on Wednesday. "I'm just saying."

Manning has the leverage to dictate terms and see what teams will meet his desires, although some performance bonuses could be employed in light of the injury that sidelined him all of last season.

"I have no idea who wants me, what team wants me, how this process works," Manning said. "This is all so new to me."

Whichever team signs Manning can also look at Reggie Wayne, the Colts receiver who figures to become a free agent next Tuesday. Wayne has caught 292 passes from Manning for 3,742 yards and 21 touchdowns.

"I'm not opposed to it," Wayne said. "He's has a great work ethic and when great work is put in, great things happen. We can truly be dangerous if we put it together."

Also mentioned among Manning's future teams were the Washington Redskins, whose coach Mike Shanahan faces pressure to pressure to produce a playoff team after going 6-10 and 5-11 in two seasons guiding the club, and Seattle, which can offer solid blocking and run support.

"My sources tell me that Peyton is going to Miami and taking Reggie Wayne with him," Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said in a Twitter posting.

Denver, with emerging talent Tim Tebow at quarterback, and Kansas City, where quarterback legend Joe Montana went after leaving San Francisco when Steve Young took his place, have enough salary cap room to make Manning solid offers as well.

AFP