Man­ning ex­pected to be re­leased by In­di­anapo­lis

Four-time MVP will be free agent

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY RICH CAMP­BELL

Quar­ter­back Pey­ton Man­ning is ex­pected to be re­leased by the In­di­anapo­lis Colts on Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to an ESPN re­port.

Man­ning, win­ner of four NFL MVP awards and one Su­per Bowl cham­pi­onship, would be­come a free agent just as the Washington Red­skins are look­ing to fill their press­ing need at quar­ter­back.

Man­ning, who turns 36 on March 24, missed the 2011 sea­son while re­cov­er­ing from mul­ti­ple neck surg­eries, in­clud­ing a cer­vi­cal fu­sion pro­ce­dure, he un­der­went last year. The Red­skins are ex­pected to at least eval­u­ate Man­ning’s health to de­ter­mine whether he can still play at a high level.

In­di­anapo­lis owner Jim Ir­say is in the process of over­haul­ing his or­ga­ni­za­tion. His decision to jet­ti­son Man­ning fol­lows the hir­ing of a new gen­eral man­ager and head coach. The Colts are ex­pected to use the first pick in the 2012 draft on a quar­ter­back, prob­a­bly Stan­ford’s An­drew Luck or Bay­lor’s Robert Grif­fin III.

By re­leas­ing Man­ning, the Colts would avoid pay­ing him the $28 mil­lion op­tion bonus due March 8.

Man­ning has been throw­ing as part of a strength and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram this win­ter at Duke Univer­sity and in Florida. He has said that he plans to con­tinue his ca­reer. Sev­eral teams are ex­pected to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of sign­ing him. The list could in­clude Mi­ami, Seat­tle, Kansas City and the New York Jets.

The Red­skins started Rex Gross­man and John Beck at quar­ter­back last sea­son but con­tinue to search for sta­bil­ity un­der cen­ter.

At his age, Man­ning doesn’t rep­re­sent a long-term so­lu­tion for the Red­skins like draft­ing Grif­fin would, but he would im­me­di­ately bring cred­i­bil­ity — not to men­tion buzz — to Washington.

Man­ning ranks be­hind Brett Favre and Dan Marino on the all-time lists in pass­ing touch­downs (399) and yards (54,828) in his 13 ac­tive sea­sons. An 11time Pro Bowl se­lec­tion, he ranks among the top 10 in nearly ev­ery sta­tis­ti­cal cat­e­gory for a quar­ter­back.

The Colts made Man­ning the first over­all pick in the 1998 draft fol­low­ing his stand­out col­lege ca­reer at Ten­nessee. In­di­anapo­lis went 3-13 in Man­ning’s rookie sea­son but won at least 10 games in 11 of the next 12 sea­sons, mak­ing the play­offs in each of those cam­paigns.

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